The American Psychiatric Association, in its 240 page guide to its May annual meeting, “forgot” to mention the conflicts of interest of its own president Alan Schatzberg, MD. It had to print them on the newsletter circulated the third day of the meeting. Nor were names even alphabetized for easy information retrieval. (Schatzberg is financially linked to Eli Lilly, GSK, Merck, Pfizer, Forest, Takeda, Sanofi-Aventis and eight other companies.)
Drug companies say they hire the most-respected doctors in their fields for the critical task of teaching about the benefits and risks of the companies’ drugs.
But an investigation by ProPublica has uncovered hundreds of doctors receiving company payments who had been accused of professional misconduct, were disciplined by state boards or lacked credentials as researchers or specialists. To vet the industry’s handpicked speakers, ProPublica created a comprehensive database that represents the most accessible accounting yet of payments to doctors. Compiled from disclosures by seven companies, the database covers $257.8 million in payouts since 2009 for speaking, consulting and other duties. The companies include Lilly, Cephalon, AstraZeneca, GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, Merck and Pfizer.
Although these companies have posted payments on their websites — some as a result of legal settlements — they make it difficult to spot trends or even learn who has earned the most. ProPublica combined the data and identified the highest-paid doctors, then checked their credentials and disciplinary records.
Letters from the government to one of the companies, which were reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, identified four types of possible violations: bribing government-employed doctors to purchase drugs; paying company sales agents commissions that are passed along to government doctors; paying hospital committees to approve drug purchases; and paying regulators to win drug approvals.
With a seemingly altruistic agenda, the fact is the campaign to end the “stigma” of mental illness is one driven and funded by pharma, psychiatry and pharmaceutical front groups such as NAMI and CHADD to name but a few. For example, take NAMI’s campaign to stop the “stigma” and “end discrimination” against the mentally ill—the “Founding Sponsors” were Abbott Labs, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Eli Lilly, Janssen, Pfizer, Novartis, SmithKline Beecham and Wyeth-Ayerst Labs.
They say there’s no money in healthy people. But, why is the pharmaceutical industry the most profitable industry in the world? It is because they have mastered the art of concocting the disorder, creating the drug for the disorder and then bombarding the public with advertisements to convince them they’re afflicted, leaving little choice but to get “prescribed”.