Doctors Getting Paid To Market Drugs

October 5, 2009
Drug Marketing

Drug Marketing

A while back I wrote a post on a drug company, Eli Lilly, using ghost writers to write favorable articles and having doctor’s sign their names to them as if they had written them.  You can read that here.  At best it is a murky situation.

Recently, Eli Lilly was back in the news here in Boston, when the Boston Globe reported that at least 60 area doctors received more than a half million dollars in speakers fees.

A very common practice in the drug industry is to hire physicians as speakers , provide them with the literature on the drug they are marketing, and turn them loose speaking on behalf of the company that hired them.

Imagine the difference in credibility between a drug salesman and a renowned doctor.  When that doctor, whom may be at the top of their field, speaks people will listen.  The drug companies know this and have very smartly used the doctor’s credibility to help them push drugs through these talks.  The question I have is this:  Hasn’t that doctor become nothing more that a glorified drug salesman?  Is their credibility now under fire?  I think it has to be and I am not alone in those thoughts.

Mass General researcher, Eric Campbell found out that 16% of all US doctors and 25% of hospital department heads belong to one speaking bureau or another.  Mr Campbell is quoted as saying, “Academics who want to be drug salesmen should go be drug salesman. But don’t do it under the shroud of academia.’’

Everyone from politicians to other physicians are voicing concern that these company paid doctors cannot give unbiased information, whether that may be downplaying the side effects of a drug or not talking about the generic equivalent which would cost less.

What do these doctor’s whom are paid this money say?  They claim they vet all information and would only present material that they believe in, even if the company is the one providing the material.  They also claim these talks are great ways to educate other doctors about new drugs.  Although one doctor did admit he was doing the talks in order to cover his children’s college tuition.

The public is starting to wake up to this and put pressure on these companies to disclose their financial relationship with doctors.  To their credit Eli Lilly released a list of all their paid speakers.  Good for them, it is nice to see that the much asked for transparency is starting to become reality.

Because of this debate and other problems – pharmaceutical firms have paid millions in fines for illegally marketing medications – companies are under political pressure to disclose their financial relationships with doctors. Lilly is one of the first companies to publicly release a list of paid consultants and speakers.

In January the FDA reported they were fining Eli Lilly 1.4 billion dollars for illegally marketing a drug.  That is a lot of money until you realize that Eli Lilly did 20.38 billion in sales in 2008.

The drug they are getting fined over….in 2006 did 4.7 billion in sales.

Now let me ask you this, if I told you I would let you market a drug to 4.7 billion in sales, but if you get caught you would have to pay a fine of 1.4 billion would you take that deal?  Darn right you would.

Paying doctors to market drugs needs a complete overhaul.  We need to be demanding complete transparency.  Good for Eli Lilly to be the first one to do it, let’s hope it keeps going.

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Is This Bad Economy a Good Thing?

July 30, 2009

Crazy right, how could there be a silver lining in the economy cloud?  Well if you are a little older in age and this economy has forced you to rethink retiring, it may be saving your brain.

There is a promising study out of Britain that studied  medical records of 382 men whose Alzheimer’s symptoms emerged around age 75. They found that, all other factors being equal, the symptoms were delayed about seven weeks for each extra year the men worked.

It is very perplexing as to why certain people stay mentally sharp and others aren’t.  There is some thought that people posses a trait called cognitive reserve.  The reserve refers to the brains ability to cope with damage.  The more damage, the greater the chance of Alzheimer’s.   The theory is the more you expose yourself to mentally challenging activities, things like; education, work, and volunteering, the more reserve you build.  The more reserve you have the better the chance you have off fending off memory loss and dementia.

Unfortunately there is not easy answer as to how much is the right amount.

If you are looking to keep active here are some great choices:

  • Volunteer.  There are so many organizations that need your time.  This is a win win.  You help out a worthy organization and keep your brain charged up.  Get more information here…http://www.volunteermatch.org/
  • Get a pet.  Especially if you are alone.  There are a lot of studies out that show having someone to care for at home will help with fighting dementia.
  • Work part time.  There are companies out there that would love to have a reliable, nice person working for them

What does not appear to have any benefit are the brain exercise products, often sold as computer based games.  A Rhode Island company, reviewed all of the existing trials on such products and concluded in a study published in Alzheimer’s & Dementia this spring that loss of memory was not helped with these products.

Shameless plug.  There is some talk that better blood flow to the brain equates to a lower chance of getting a certain type of Alzheimer’s.  Chiropractors improve the bio mechanics in the neck area, thus improving blood flow to that region.  Is this a cure, most definitely not.  Is there a chance it could help….we’ll see.

The one thing that everyone can agree on…get and stay active.  Use it or lose it does not apply only to muscles, it appears to also do the brain a lot of good.

What are you or a loved one doing to stay active?  Please comment below.


Are You Last?

November 17, 2008

How often do you put yourself last?  Time after time I see a client who is dashing in after soccer, before ballet, and on their way to the grocery store.  Oftentimes they will rush into the office, lay down on the table, get their adjustment, and skip out before I can even say hello, never mind good-bye.   I always wonder, how stressed out must this person be?

As a father of four, with a super human wife, I completely understand how hectic life gets.  I try and help people realize that slowing down is not such a bad thing.  Sitting on ice in my office, while cold, is oftentimes the only part of someones day that is relatively sane.

Making time for yourself is crucial to your health.  Even the finest tuned race cars need down time.  You cannot keep pushing without something breaking down.  Trying turning off the radio while driving, grab a book and a comfy chair, how about a walk at lunch from your office, or how about scheduling that massage you have been putting off.

Your body doesn’t need much, just a couple of minutes a day for itself and you will see the effects for years to come.

PS. Need a massage therapist leave me a comment and I will set you up with a wonderful one, I have been seeing her for a couple of years and she is great.


How Exactly Does Chiropractic Work

November 16, 2008

In an attempt to keep this super simple please allow me to tell you a story.  You are outside watering the lawn with a typical water hose.  While the water is flowing out, someone places something heavy on the hose back where it comes out of the spicket.  The result is decreased water flow.  Make sense?

That is the essence of chiropractic.

We take the pressure off your nerves so that they flow properly.

It is pretty well known that the brain controls the body.  In order for that to happen, the brain must communicate through the nerves.  These nerves originate in the spine then branch out all over the body.  If there is a misalignment in the spine, pressure gets put on the nerve and much like the water hose, the flow decreases.  With this decreased nerve flow, whatever is connected to this nerve; glands, organs, or muscles, will not work at its peak.  

Chiropractors are trained to detect these misalignments and put them back in place to relieve the nerve pressure.


Let’s start here

November 14, 2008

Thank you for reading my blog.  My goal is to keep you informed, entertained, challenged, and depending on my mood, maybe be even fired up.  I will update this site often with news from the fields of chiropractic, medicine, nutrition, or anything I might think you are interested in.  

Since this blog is for you, I encourage you to leave me comments, ask questions or make suggestions for topics.  I cannot promise to always agree with you, however, I think we can have some fun with this.