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Who are all the attractive people in the doctor’s waiting room?

February 27, 2015 at 12:18 pm

Have you ever waited in the doctor’s office and wondered about all of the attractive sales people moving through the offices with familiarity? More often than not, these are sales people for various pharmaceutical companies.

A couple of questions come to mind about sales from Big Pharma:

(1) What are the doctors receiving from the companies? and (2) how much influence does these sales people have over prescribing practices?

At Simmons Law Firm, we have deposed and/or cross examined hundreds of doctors and sales representatives about sales practices. Some of the testimony and evidence is pretty enlightening. For example, in one case, the notes from sales meetings exposed that the representative and doctor were playing golf and betting on how many prescriptions the doctor would write for the rep’s drug.

Other doctors across the country have been questioned about the gifts they have received from pharma companies, including extravagant trips and payments into the hundreds of thousands of dollars for delivering “canned speeches.” Ghostwriting has also been reported. In response to whistleblower lawsuits and settlement requirements, many pharma companies have been required to post spending amounts to doctors.

The related question: How does this influence what drugs a doctor prescribes? Physicians like to emphasize their independence and proclaim that the sales pitches, gifts and trips don’t influence their professional judgment. We are sure that this is the case with many professionals.

However, there are numerous studies showing the influence pharma wields over physicians and other health care professionals.  This influence raises other issues. How much time does a busy physician really have to investigate and understand dozens and dozens of drugs available for his or her prescribing? Perhaps more importantly, what about the information provided to the physician from the drug company? Have unfavorable studies been buried or minimized?

Many of these questions remain unanswered, but it seems clear that pharma has influenced doctors in the past, and will likely continue to do so.

If you or someone you know would like to speak to an attorney regarding your legal rights, please contact the Simmons Law Firm at 803-779-4600 or http://www.simmonslawfirm.com/contact.php for a free initial consultation.

 By Simmons Law Firm LLC of Simmons Law Firm, LLC posted in Pharmaceutical and Medical Device Litigation on Thursday, March 6, 2014.