Skip To Content
Get Our Newsletter
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
Back to Opinion

Drug Makers Buy Doctors

The story of how pharmaceutical firms buy doctors to prescribe given medication would be unbelievable if it appeared in some publication with less credibility than the Bulletin of the AARP.

Here’s the reported way in which a sales manager at Astra-Zeneca described the filthy operation: “There’s a big bucket of money sitting in every office. Every time you go in you reach your hand in the bucket and grab a handful.”

Little did the teller of this tale expect that his words would turn up on the Internet. But they did.

But even if they did not, the truth about the way in which pharmaceutical firms seek to buy doctors to prescribe their product would have been brought to public attention. A two-year Senate Finance Committee probe has concluded that by funding continuing medical education programs for doctors, pharmaceutical companies “have been able to increase their market for new products” and to illegally promote “off label uses” for their drugs. The committee has expressed concern that persuading doctors to use more costly drugs raises safety issues and most certainly places an additional cost on government funding.

The New England Journal of Medicine reports that 94% of doctors have a relationship with drug companies, 83% get free meals and 35% attend industry events.

They used to call such acts “bribery.” Now, we guess it goes under another name — like friendship.

Engage

  • SHARE YOUR FEEDBACK

  • UPCOMING EVENT

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free under an Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives Creative Commons license as long as you follow our republishing guidelines, which require that you credit Foward and retain our pixel. See our full guidelines for more information.

To republish, copy the HTML, which includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline, and credit to Foward. Have questions? Please email us at help@forward.com.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.