Dr. Drew Pinsky, the celebrity doctor from TV and radio, received payments for Glaxo for allegedly promoting their medication Wellbutrin. Dr. Drew, whose “Loveline” show offered sexual advice to the masses, often plugged Wellbutrin. His involvement with this company was revealed yesterday.
The famous TV doctor presented this medication for depression as one that didn’t render the user with a low sexual drive like many other anti-depressants on the market. He also plugged the drug's libdo enhancing effects. He received two payments from this drug company totaling $275,000 back in 1999, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Dr. Drew was one of many doctors who were reported to have been handsomely rewarded for promoting Wellbutrin’s use for other ailments, such as help in conquering addiction. This tendency to prescribe drugs for anything other than they are approved for by the FDA is called “off-label” prescribing.
The drug companies cannot promote their drug for any other use other than what the FDA specifies, but doctors can. They drug companies also cannot make claims, that don’t come with evidence from the FDA, like Wellbutrin enhancing your sex drive.
Wellbutrin’s label does not state that it’s a drug that won’t interfere with your sex life or that will enhance your libido, so they can’t advertise it this way, but a doctor can. This is where Dr. Drew allegedly became valuable for this drug company.
This makes doctors very valuable to the drug companies, especially one like Dr. Drew who is well-known and respected nationally. The celebrity doctor allegedly plugged the drug Wellbutrin to other medical professionals and to the millions of fans who tuned into his show.
The Huffington Post headlines puts Dr. Drew in a different light this morning than his fans are used to seeing him. "Dr. Drew alleged paid $275,000 to illegally promote GlaxoSmithKline drugs,"is their headline that sounds a lot like the good doctor sold out to the drug company. This is sad, as many of his fans believed Dr. Drew was not working under any other agenda when passing out advice to his fans.
The government's complaint alleges that "Dr. Drew highlighted the drug's libido-enhancing side effects in March and April of 2009, though it doesn't reveal that he was a paid spokesman," according to the Huffington Post.
The U.S. Justice Department announced this week that they’ve agreed to a $3 billion criminal and civil settlement with Glaxo over this illegal drug marketing along with other matters. Glaxo paid doctors money, like in Dr. Drew’s case, took doctors on lavish trips and threw lavish parties enticing the doctors to plug Wellbutrin.
A nine year investigation of Glaxo’s marketing practices conducted by the U.S. Government led to this complaint against the company.
Dr. Drew released a statement, according to the Wall Street Journal saying:
"In the late '90s I was hired to participate in a two-year initiative discussing intimacy and depression which was funded by an educational grant by Glaxo Wellcome," one of the companies that later merged to form GlaxoSmithKline. He added that the campaign "included town hall meetings, writings and multimedia activities in conjunction with [a] patient advocacy group." He added, "My comments were consistent with my clinical experience."
Examiner.com : Reference: The Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post
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