Physician, Sell Thyself

In exchange for money, some physicians have allowed pharmaceutical sales representatives into their examining rooms to meet with patients, review medical charts and recommend what medicines to prescribe. "And some of those salespeople tried to influence doctors to prescribe drugs for uses that were not approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration," reports the New York Times. A lawsuit brought by Dr. David P. Franklin, a former Warner-Lambert employee turned whistleblower, accuses the drug company's sales representatives of encouraging doctors to experiment by prescribing the drug Neurontin for unapproved uses including pain, bipolar disorder and attention deficit disorder in children. Doctors "who were considered high-volume prescribers" were rewarded "by paying them as speakers and consultants and also paying them to enter patients in clinical trials. Warner-Lambert also tried to influence doctors who wrote medical journal articles about Neurontin by paying them, sometimes secretly, and even hiring a marketing company to write first drafts."