Doctors make a lot of money.
We assume that the money comes from either a patient or an insurance company.
But there could be a third source of income for your doctor. A pharmaceutical company.
There’s a disturbing item in The Wall Street Journal about this issue. It’s US-centric, but it could happen anywhere … and I’m sure it does.
The WSJ controversy is about Dr. Drew Pinsky, the “Dr. Drew” of the CNN Headline News program. It appears that he was caught up in the much publicised GlaxoSmithKline judgement of some $3 Billion Dollars. $1B was a criminal fine, and the additional $2B was to settle a civil case (where Glaxo did not admit guilt).
The GlaxoSmithKline case was about:
- the illegal promotion of Wellbutin and Paxil, two antidepressants, for unapproved uses (part of the $1B criminal fine)
- not reporting health hazards for one of it’s diabetes drugs – Avandia (also part of the criminal fine)
- inappropriate marketing of a handful of less well known drugs (the $2B civil case)
The Doctor Did It!
In April of 1999, Dr. Drew accepted the second of two payments from GlaxoSmithKline (Glaxo Wellcome) totalling some $275,000 as a “public educational campaign” to promote the drug Wellbutrin’s potential uses outside of FDA regulations.
He has emailed an explanation, but not an apology:
“In the late ’90s I was hired to participate in a two-year initiative discussing intimacy and depression which was funded by an educational grant by Glaxo Wellcome,” one of the companies that later merged to form GlaxoSmithKline. He added that the campaign “included town hall meetings, writings and multimedia activities in conjunction with [a] patient advocacy group.” He added, “My comments were consistent with my clinical experience.”
The Anchor Did It Too!
As if that wasn’t enough, CNN’s Piers Morgan has also been suspected in the British phone hacking scandal. So far the links have been unproven, but I doubt that Piers sleeps well at night (there’s the tie in with insomnia!!).
All this means in that, in addition to being your own health care advocate, you also have to be sceptical about who’s agenda you’re really on when you visit your doctor – yours or theirs? It might seem uncomfortable asking your physician if there’s anything in it for them when they prescribe some therapy, but why is that?
One of the most important things I’ve learned over thirty years of selling is to remember how the other person is measured and rewarded when you talk to them. Once you have this figured out, you can think and act appropriately.
If it turns out that your doctor is rewarded for prescribing a particular brand of sleeping pill (and insists on the non-generic version), then you might have a problem…
Check Your Doctor Here
If you’re in the USA, you can check here to see if you doctor is on the list (it’s incomplete, but it’s a start).
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