Three San Diego doctors [all psychiatrists] who prescribe medications at the same time they are paid by drug companies as experts on the products figure into a broader national debate about whether playing both roles poses a conflict. California Watch, a project of the independent, nonprofit Center for Investigative Reporting, compared two sets of data at the center of the debate — one a database of payments by drug companies to doctors nationwide and the other a list of the top antipsychotic prescribers in California’s Medi-Cal program for the poor and disabled.
For more than 20 years, psychiatrist Richard Schloss has been treating Long Island patients with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and social phobias. But he has another job. Pfizer has paid him thousands of dollars to tell other psychiatrists about a drug the company sells, an anti-psychotic medication called Geodon.
In all his years of speaking for Pfizer, the company’s never asked Schloss (right) about an embarrassing stain on his state record. In 2001, the New York State Health Department suspended Schloss and then put him on probation for five years for helping supply Vicodin for a year and a half to six patients who were drug addicts.