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Is your doctor moonlighting - as a drug rep?


The people who run drug companies are crafty devils; I'll give them that. They can find more ways to sell drugs than the neighborhood narcotic pusher! Case in point: Paying doctors to market drugs to OTHER doctors. Why would they do this? Because drug makers are prohibited from marketing individual drugs for the treatment of medical conditions the FDA hasn't specifically approved them for...

But DOCTORS labor under no such restrictions.

That's right: Doctors can legally prescribe any drug to any patient for any condition. For example, if your M.D. believes - or has been convinced by another doctor on the drug company payroll - that prescribing a certain foot fungus drug will cure you of cataracts, then it's perfectly legal for him (or HER, I know!) to recommend it. As long as the prescribing doc learned about the technique from ANOTHER DOCTOR, it's all well and good in the eyes of the law.

So what do the drug companies do? They pay individual doctors tens of thousands of dollars to give presentations and seminars to their colleagues about the wonders of a certain drug that's made for one disease to treat other medical conditions - thereby increasing demand for the drug without illegally "marketing" it. The spokes-doctors become, in effect, drug sales reps to their industry.

This seems to push the envelope of what's legal, doesn't it?

A former employee of drug maker Warner-Lambert (now owned by Pfizer) thinks so, too. He's the star whistle-blower witness for the prosecution in a case against the drug giant for illegal marketing practices - including not just such "peer selling" scams as revealed above, but also the outright suggestion of unapproved uses by the company's field sales reps! The gall and greed of these people is outrageous, isn't it?

This could be big - a landmark case for reigning in the out- of-control marketing practices of drug companies. It could also send shockwaves throughout the conventional medical community about the proper role of doctors in the medication process - and maybe force some basic ethics back into the equation...

Think about it: Would you feel good about taking a drug in an unauthorized manner because your doctor was paid to endorse it to his colleagues - and he needed to be able to say he prescribed it in his practice?

       Don't know about you, but I wouldn't want to be a guinea pig.

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