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  1. ZenobiaSky
    17575.jpg 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



  1. Rob Cypher
    LOL he's become more and more of a quack since he was first on "Loveline". I don't think he's a horrible person per se (although this stuff about slinging drugs for BigPharma is making me feel some kind of [bad] way), but some of his theories are ridicilous. For example, he thinks all bisexual people are just "confused" or "acting on the down low and exposing their partners to STDs" or some other crap that basically says they're crazy. (His saying is "bisexuality means "bi bi" to heterosexuality"). I know that's not true and you don't have to engage in sex with both genders to know this. It's like the concept doesn't fit into his 2D world but he tries to make it fit anyway in a dysfunctional manner; either that or he's a bit of a bigot...not sure how his advice was to gay people on "Loveline"; didn't see them (outside of some "hot" lesbians) too often.
  2. Rob Cypher
    Rule of thumb - the longer a certified doctor is a "celeb", the more quackish they turn in time. Dr. Oz (a favorite of Oprah's) is another good example - watching him during his first appearances on Opera and watching him on his show is like watching two different doctors - one before a lobotomy, and one after the lobotomy. :)
  3. Ellisdeee
    The article is so hung on being worried about his involvement it doesn't mention at all if the stuff he actually said is true, sponsored or not, about the drug. It doesn't matter if they gave him 2 billion, that is their money to do what they want with it, the bottom line should be - did he sell a lie for the money, or was the money just a bonus in supplying what he feels is the truth?
  4. Mr Gregoire
    in my opinion, anyone that promates alcoholics anonymous is not to be trusted.

    im also under the impression that antidepressants like ssri and all those are garbage and money making schemes. if you are depressed then you should make some changes in your life rather than relying on a happy pill. i used to be depressed and i made some changes like getting more exercise, more sun, putting myself out there and making friends and connections, i cant believe i was ever on something like celexa.
  5. profesor
    Wellbutrin does not have the sexual dysfunction side effects of SSRIs, that much is certainly true. GlaxoSmithKline was not penalized because the off-label uses are untrue, just they didn't clear all the studies and reports etc., with the FDA before promoting uses other than depression and smoking cessation. So there's no evidence of any untruths or inaccuracies here, just a conflicts-of-interest.
    I used to like Dr Drew back when he was just on radio with whatshisname. I guess that was a while ago, I haven't tuned in to anything he's done since. On the other hand I never experienced any "libido enhancement"- is that only supposed to happen to women?
  6. Rodrigovdsp
    This really shows that the pharmaceutical companies are in the driver's seat and not the doctors. There are good doctors out there but when this sort of thing happens they all get blemished. It is time good doctors stood up to what's happening.
  7. Gradient
    Wow, let's slow down here. The difference between Drew Pinsky & 'Dr. Oz' is night and day. Dr. Drew was involved in addiction therapy before clinicians could actually specialize in it - and, for the most part, is pretty solid on his knowledge of pharmacology from what I can tell. More so than almost all clinicians in my experience, including addiction specialists - and I've worked with a few now. The second I saw 'Dr. Oz' peddling HCG supplements for weight loss, his priorities were made crystal clear. Glorified snake oil salesmen.

    I listened to Loveline (the name you're looking for is Adam Carolla, profesor. 'How dare you.') for a very long time, and was frankly surprised at how rarely Drew would misrepresent recreational drugs - even fairly esoteric ones like ibogaine. He was a bit sweeping when discussing psychedelics, and would generalize when it came to the pharmacogenetics and neurophysiology of addiction - but that's basically what doctors get paid to do. Most clinicians couldn't tell you the difference between the actions of methamphetamie and cocaine, and I've heard him articulate it concisely several times on the show. Of course he's not into glorifying drug use, as he almost only ever sees people at rock bottom - but he's all for legalizing cannabis, and regulating drug use - a rare perspective among addiction therapists.

    This kind of thing happens rather frequently, but doesn't get press because you can count the number of celebrity-clinicians on one hand. profesor's absolutely right: doctors will regularly publicize when they find effective off-label applications of drugs - as they damn well should; patients benefit from clinical communication. When a company hears about this, they'll often sponsor talks to facilitate this kind of thing; this application of bupropion (as well as Mirtazapine, or Remeron) has been well known for a long time now.

    Federal protocol requires that a company go through a whole new battery of clinical trials in order to advertise such applications; this takes just under a decade and several billions of dollars, simply to be able to add 'lower sexual side-effects relative to other anti-depressants' to their labels. The settlement means nothing more than that the settlement amount is lower than the cost of legal dispute, plain and simple; the government can live in a courtroom while we all pay for it - a company has to pay for lawyers by the hour. Nothing nefarious, just simple economics.

    From what I can tell, Huffington Post is making a mountain out of a molehill - dragging a clinician's reputation through the mud while doing it.
  8. Aminatrix
    Thank you for saying this, I agree completely. Even the article admits it: it says he was paid $275,000 (a SMALL amount of money for a celebrity, and celebrity doctor) TEN YEARS before he made claims on television.

    I don't know any company, pharmaceutical or otherwise, who paid pay someone to report good features "in ten tears." By then, they would have been able to get those required tests done.

    Now, it is true that there have been some lapses, and the federal government recently completed / reported a large investigation where they dug through EVERYTHING. Every financial transaction (especially to doctors) from ANY account/company that was EVER associated with Glaxa[Etc]. They saw Dr. Drew's name on there and said "ooh media scandal!" And completely ignore the fact that the difference between payment date and the date he made claims on television was ten years...

    It's extremely unfortunate that Dr. Drew happened to be paid money from a sub-company of the pharma company that paid doctors to prescribe and recommend off label medication. Some doctors did cross the line, but I don't think Dr. Drew did, my decision is completely unbiased, using information from the article itself, and it's damn unfair his name and reputation are being defamed so adversely.
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