Friday, November 03, 2006

From the Department of Irony - Pfizer money used to train med students how to spar with drug reps!

Medical schools in several states are boosting programs that teach doctors and students to challenge the sales pitches of drug companies and avoid being dazzled by them.

Big Pharma spends billions of dollars a year on marketing to doctors; sometimes throwing lavish events to seal the deal on certain medicines.

Critics say slick promotion is unduly influencing how drugs get prescribed, sometimes to the detriment of patients.

A small number of schools are now adding lectures and continuing education seminars aimed at persuading doctors to challenge claims made during sophisticated sales presentations.

But here's the kicker!

The money for some of the university programs about drug advertising comes from a $430 million legal settlement over promotion practices by Pfizer.

The company was accused of illegally paying doctors to prescribe its drug Neurontin for uses that had not been approved by the FDA. The settlement has so far awarded $11 million to 28 institutions.

This week nearly $2 million in grants were awarded to Mount Sinai, the University of Arkansas, Florida International University, the University of Minnesota and the Institute on Medicine as a Profession, affiliated with Columbia University.

''We want to appeal to physicians' natural skepticism,'' said Dr. Ethan Halm, an associate professor of medicine and health policy at Mount Sinai School of Medicine.

The prestigious Manhattan school is including a new type of training at its Morchand Education Center, famous for its use of actors to play patients.

For these sessions, the actors will play pharmaceutical company sales representatives. The students will be taught ''how to effectively spar with the drug reps'' by asking aggressive questions, Halm said.

Another part of Mount Sinai's program will advise health care providers how to tactfully deal with patients who see a drug on television and demand a prescription for it.

More at the NY Times
This should explain why such training is needed!


Anonymous said...

Did any of the money go to the patients who the medication was prescribed for?

Neurontin Prescription Information said...

My name is Karen Tobin and i would like to show you my personal experience with Neurontin.

I have taken for 4 months. I am 54 years old. Was taking 1800 mg per day for pain, numbness and scalp soreness. It helped immensely and right now am weaning off of it taking 300mg two times daily with no noticeable side effects.

I have experienced some of these side effects-
Drowsiness and dizziness.

I hope this information will be useful to others,
Karen Tobin