Ever since ProPublica published its disturbing database called Dollars for Docs, there have been many local news stories written about hired gun physicians who take money from drug companies to promote drugs to other doctors. A particularly good one was published yesterday in the SentinelSource by the Chicago Tribune's Judith Graham.
The Tribune interviewed about a dozen physicians who make thousands per year from drug company talks, and, according to Graham, "all said they believe such ties have no effect on their medical practices."
But Graham also interviewed a former drug rep, who provided the unvarnished and rather ugly truth about how these apparently well-meaning doctors are actually being manipulated by their handlers:
"Angie Maher, a former Michigan drug sales representative turned whistle-blower, described training sessions where psychologists and coaches would brief her on how to play on doctors’ vulnerabilities — their desire to feel important, their eagerness to be on the cutting edge — while working to boost sales. Each time a physician would give a talk, Maher would fill out a “return on investment” spreadsheet tracking prescription trends for all the doctors who attended the event. If sales went up, the speaker was asked to give another presentation, she said. If not, further invitations to speak would not be extended."
That says it all. Time for these doctors to wake up and realize that have transformed themselves into ROIs for their sponsoring companies.