Has your doctor taken money from drug companies?

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15 Responses to “Has your doctor taken money from drug companies?”

  1. Tavie says:

     So… my doctor’s taken $178,562 from 23 separate payments from 7 drug companies since 2010.

    This isn’t a surprise – her entire office is plastered with promotional material from drug companies and every pen, clipboard, pencil, eraser, highlighter, etc, is plastered with the name of a different company or drug. I just didn’t know how MUCH she was taking.

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  2. Olorwen says:

    It’s interesting that it also lists what amounts to drug company representatives buying the office lunch and talking at the doctor about whatever new medicines they’re trying to convince them to prescribe. My doctor may not have taken any substantial money from drug companies (nothing in the over $250 category, for instance), but it’s certainly documented here that she’s lost a few lunch breaks to salespeople.

  3. Rider says:

    I know several Doctors who I can guarantee have taken money and none of them are listed. 

  4. Antinous / Moderator says:

    I searched for a dozen or so of the ten thousand doctors that I’ve worked with over the years.  The only one that came up was a big-time plastic surgeon (he’s been on a bunch of those makeover shows), and even he apparently only got taken to dinner by the Botox rep.

    So, now I’ll try again by searching for names of doctors who made me want to swab off with iodine after interacting with them.  And… immediately get one with a long list.  Shocking.  Sleazy personality predisposes bribe-taking.

    • welcomeabored says:

      Odd, the only hit I got was also a plastic surgeon.  Not a nice guy.

      • Antinous / Moderator says:

        The one that I know is a really nice guy. In his television interviews with potential patients, he’s always saying things like, “You don’t need a face lift; you look great,” or “There’s nothing wrong with your boobs. Don’t waste your money.”

        • Xploder says:

           Which is most likely why you didn’t find evidence of a lot of money taking. Seems to be for that Doctors with nice personalities and thriving practices to take what amounts to a bribe.

          Personally, I’ve seen a lot of different Doctors since I got out of the Army and out of them all, only found two on that list, one of which managed to get himself deported for not bothering to show up to an Immigration Hearing. Glad to see him go as he was a major sleazebag and the Philippines need him more than we do.

  5. Omar Jundi says:

    It’s good to see this sort of issue coming to the fore in non-medical media outlets. I’m an anaesthetics (or anaesthesiology, if you prefer!) trainee in the UK and some of my colleagues and I have campaigned on this issue for years. But with the stranglehold that the pharmaceutical industry has on our profession it’s really difficult to change doctor’s behaviours. 

    And don’t be too quick dismiss the free lunch as a way of changing the prescribing practices , there’s plenty of evidence proving it’s a very effective marketing tool. Who would say no to a free lunch?

  6. Anoz says:

    Our family doc got $270 in meals, which sounds about right.  Both of the docs in the practice are fairly upfront about the fact they use the occasional drug company rep to buy lunch for them and the office.  Considering my doctor tends to be fairly restrained on medicine prescription and sample giving (one reason we like them), I’d guess that the drug companies shill elsewhere. 

    Mind you, the docs will still grub for an extra buck here and there.  They offer a 24-on call service (beyond the one anyone can use where they call you back) where you get a personal number you can call and the doctor will answer.  Always.  It’s like $1k/year and apparently fairly popular.   I’ll just take the free answering service and call back, thanks.  I’ve never waited over 10m.

  7. Roger Lambert says:

    Full disclosure:    a former pharmaceutical sales rep here.

    What evidence does the author of this article have to document their insulting insinuation that a doctor who accepts goods and services from a pharmaceutical company is likely to deliver substandard patient care?  Answer – zero.

    The idea that a physician would compromise their Hippocratic oath for a tuna sandwich or some post-it notes is not just absurd, it is profoundly paranoid. The fact is our healthcare system is running on fumes and physicians have almost no time during their overworked daytime schedules to keep up with the literature and new products and devices.

    About the only time during normal working hours they have for education from industry is the lunch hour – and many take advantage of the offer of free food and use part of that time to have a discussion with reps of all stripes in a time frame that allows for a meaningful conversation as opposed to a canned twenty-second infomercial.

    I was a rep for more than 20 years. I would also talk to retail pharmacists, who would beg me to talk to certain health care providers who were misprescribing certain drugs and/or devices to their patients.  These were almost always providers who would not see sales reps at all.

    There IS a lot wrong with the pharmaceutical industry – but paying for lunch to get quality time, or handing out office supplies with advertisements on them is not necessarily a bad thing.

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      The idea that a physician would compromise their Hippocratic oath for a tuna sandwich or some post-it notes is not just absurd, it is profoundly paranoid.

      There are these things called “ethics”, “conflict of interest” and “appearance of impropriety”. Apparently, you’ve never heard of them. There’s also quite a bit of evidence that physicians have done unethical things in return for drug company money.

    • mocon says:

      My question would be, why are pharmaceutical companies spending so much money on free lunches if doctors are immune to the bias of the presentation?  Is it just charity given to educate these uninformed doctors?  Why not donate those millions of dollars to medical and nursing schools for the education they’re already doing and take the charity tax write off?

      Pharmaceutical companies are not in the business of losing money.  If providing free lunches didn’t work, it wouldn’t be done.

      Each and every one of us is immune to commercials, yet they are still on TV.  Odd.

  8. Charles Ornstein says:

    Thanks for the write-up of our Dollars for Docs project. If anyone sees something they’d like to talk to us about, feel free to drop me a note at charles.ornstein@propublica.org. Also, check out our latest project about the drugs doctors prescribe: http://projects.propublica.org/checkup.

  9. Rob Wheeler says:

    I used to work for a company that would run food out to doctor’s clinics regularly and the drug reps threw money around like crazy. They’d pay tips large enough for me to drive TWO HOURS away.

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