For related articles and more information, please visit OCA’s Health Issues page and our Appetite For a Change page.
Drug companies are master marketers, and they attack the drug market on multiple levels.
On the surface level are direct-to-consumer advertisements, like the drug commercials you see on television and in magazines.
The next level is an army of drug reps who “educate” physicians about new drugs; a practice that includes visiting physicians personally, often with lavish gifts in hand, or offers of dinners and trips as persuasive perks.
As you dig even deeper, the next marketing “layer” are the industry-paid physicians, researchers and other medical experts who provide consulting services, research and lectures about drugs — lectures that typically target the physicians they depend on to recommend, prescribe, and dispense their medications.
These “experts” are very much on the drug industry’s payroll — but they masquerade as independent medical experts or even state officials during their “day jobs.”
Over $761 Million Paid in Just Over Two Years
The amount of money that drug companies are throwing at medical experts is nothing to sneeze at.
An ongoing investigation by ProPublica revealed that 12 drug companies paid $761.3 million to physicians for consulting, speaking, research and other expenses in 2009, 2010 and, for some, the beginning of 2011 — and that represents only the disclosed payments.In all actuality, this figure is probably far too low.