Are there really doctors this crooked? And do the pharmaceuticals really pay the bribes?
Another development in the Avandia story is the claim that Dr. John Buse was improperly pressured by GlaxoSmithKline to keep quiet about his concerns about the drug. The entire article at the NY Times is worth a read, but the portion below really jumped out at me:
"In a recent interview, Dr. Peters said that she had previously received money from Glaxo as a speaker on behalf of Avandia, but had resigned because she was worried about the drug’s risks.
About five years ago, she said, she helped change the formulary — or list of preferred drugs — for Los Angeles County so that patients in her clinic would get prescriptions for Actos rather than Avandia.
“The Avandia people, it was just so surprising, they asked me what I wanted to keep Avandia on the formulary,” Dr. Peters said, recounting events that occurred sometime in the 2000-to-2002 period. “They asked me, “What can we give you that will have you keep it on the formulary?’ ”
Dr. Peters said that she asked the company to establish a database at the clinic that would track the outcomes of patients on both drugs.
When she asked for the database, which would have cost several thousand dollars, she said, a company representative replied: “That’s all you want? Other doctors ask to go to the Caribbean.”
Dr. Peters said that Glaxo representatives first asked her to write a proposal, then asked her to go to Philadelphia to meet with company officials before the database could be approved. She decided to purchase it herself." (Emphasis added.)
If it's true that doctors ask for and receive "free" vacations to lie about the safety and efficacy of drugs, we need to put concerns about medical liability aside and focus on medical reliability. If this practice is occuring, I hope it's investigated and those involved see actual jail time. And when I say "those involved" I don't just mean the sales rep, but I mean the executives who approved the purchase orders.
Cross-posted to TortDeform