Jun 14 2012

In my Opinion Physicians on Pharma’s Payroll: Educators or Marketers? Cathal Grant takes money from the Pharma’s Payroll what does this tell you about him and on what ground he prescribes medication without any medical test

Source: WNYC News

By Ailsa Chang

Most people getting a prescription for a drug don’t ask if their doctor is getting paid to promote that drug. But thousands of physicians all over the country get paid by pharmaceutical companies to speak about brand-name medications. Some have made more than $300,000 in the last 18 months. And at least 1,500 of these speakers are licensed in New York. All these details have just come to light after the investigative news organization ProPublica compiled a database based on disclosures made by seven pharmaceutical companies after federal lawsuits.

(See a list of New York’s top earners and check and see if your health provider has received funds here.)

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. Schloss says he didn’t know at the time those patients were lying to him about their pain symptoms.

“I was just trying to be compassionate and was misguided and maybe a little naïve, but that was 10 years ago that the disciplinary action occurred based on incidents that occurred 13 years ago. So I feel like I’m a different doctor than I was then,” said Schloss, “and it doesn’t really detract from what I know and what knowledge I can impart about the medications that I speak for.”

Drug companies say the goal of their speaker programs is to educate — and that they merely pick the best experts to teach fellow doctors about the latest drugs. But many people in the medical community disagree with those claims and want to see the practice end. They say the way drug companies recruit and script their speakers has less to do with education and more to do with marketing.

Speakers With Tainted State Records

Among the 17,000 speakers in the ProPublica database are hundreds of doctors like Schloss — doctors with tarnished state records who have been paid by drug companies to teach other physicians about the latest medications. Schloss says he doesn’t know if Pfizer even knows about his record.

“They didn’t bring it up, and I didn’t volunteer it but if they asked, I would have been forthcoming, obviously,” said Schloss.

ProPublica’s database for New York doctors shows GlaxoSmithKline recruited a physician after he was suspended for unzipping his pants and fondling himself while examining a female patient. An Eli Lilly speaker wrote fake prescriptions for Ritalin to feed his own addiction. And Johnson & Johnson hired a doctor who lost his New York license after giving patients drugs that weren’t approved for human use. Medical ethicists are now asking if drug companies are checking the state records of their speakers.

“It shows that drug companies aren’t necessarily that selective in who they’re using to promote their products. They will take people who will do what they need them to do,” says Susan Chimonas, a researcher at the Center on Medicine as a Profession at Columbia University. “Their number one concern is making money for their shareholders. That is their legal obligation. And if they can’t find enough physicians with unblemished records to go out and push their products for them, they will take who they can get.”

When WNYC asked Pfizer and other companies how these doctors ended up on their speaker lists, none would grant interviews. Some of them have told ProPublica they do conduct background checks on their speakers, but are now re-evaluating the process.

Targeting High Prescribers

To be clear, the doctors with blemished state records only comprise about one percent of the New York speakers in the database. That is about the same percentage of doctors who are disciplined every year in New York. But evidence from these speaker programs raises troubling questions that go far beyond doctors with blemished records. The companies insist these programs are purely educational, and they get the best teachers they can find. But documents and interviews with several physicians chip away at that claim.

First, the industry says it picks the doctors who are the most knowledgeable about the drugs. But Schloss said Pfizer first picked him because he was a high prescriber of Geodon.

“What they do is they get the pharmacy records, and they know who’s prescribing what,” said Schloss, “and they can come in and say, ‘I see you’re prescribing, you know, a lot of, in this case, Geodon. What do you like about it?’ And you if say nice things, they say, ‘Will you be interested in speaking for us?’”

Schloss said he agreed to be a speaker because he genuinely believes in Geodon, and he enjoys teaching. But even he admitted the speaking has actually changed the way he prescribes.

“You know, I may use Geodon maybe 10 percent more than I did before I was a speaker,” said Schloss. “I use it 10 percent more because I’ve spoken about it so many times, and thereby, learned a lot more about what the drug can and can’t do.”

Keeping Speakers On Script

The talks themselves are completely legal. Here’s how they work: Schloss shows up at a restaurant in front of a group of doctors and leads them through a PowerPoint presentation about the benefits and side effects of Geodon. All of the almost 80 slides are written by Pfizer. Pfizer and other companies say they need to make sure all the content complies with Food & Drug Administration regulations.

The rule is Schloss can’t go off script, even if he may know a lot about the drug that isn’t mentioned on the slides. And that’s another reason critics say these talks aren’t really about educating. Companies say they pick speakers based on their expertise, but they make those experts stick to a script.

“A monkey can read the slides at this point. Well, a monkey that can read can read the slides,” said Stephen Friedes, a psychiatrist in East Hampton. For three years, he has been paid by Eli Lilly for speaking about the antidepressant Cymbalta.

Friedes has been on probation since 2008 for prescribing drugs in dosages and combinations that violated FDA guidelines. Friedes said the charges were unfair, and that he was just trying to treat complicated patients by thinking outside the box.

“The state of New York did not like me thinking outside the box,” said Friedes. “I don’t think at all it implies I don’t know about the medications because I know very well about all psychopharmacological drugs. And generally, I’m pretty well-respected.”

But Eli Lilly never brought up his record and kept paying him $1,000 at a time to speak about Cymbalta. Friedes finally decided to resign from the company’s speakers’ bureau this January. Only then did he realize his Eli Lilly contract had required him to disclose his disciplinary record. Friedes said he would have told the company about his probation if he decided to renew his contract, but regurgitating the company slides was starting to get boring. He said he felt like he was just reciting the package inserts that come with the drugs.

“The problem now is, it’s like Stalinist Russia,” said Friedes. “There’s no freedom of speech and I have to say the party line, and it took away all the fun and all the educating aspects of it.”

Scripting Even the Top Experts

Friedes said drug companies can’t use sales reps to give the same speeches. Instead, they need doctors to serve as speakers because the presentations are more believable when they come from an expert’s mouth. And that’s why companies will pay the biggest bucks to get the biggest experts to read their slides. Experts like Franklin Lowe (right) from Columbia University’s medical school.

Lowe is one of the top urologists in the country. He’s also one of the highest paid speakers in the database for New York City. He does up to 40 talks a year and has worked for 15 different drug companies. In the past 18 months, GlaxoSmithKline paid Lowe more than $150,000. He speaks about their drug Avodart, which treats enlarged prostates.

Lowe said pharmaceutical companies refer to him as a “Thought Leader.” It’s a term the industry uses for the crème de la crème of the profession — influential physicians whom other doctors listen to. These doctors are the industry’s most prized speakers because they’re the most credible.

The scripted slides don’t bother Lowe. He said he can go a little off-script when doctors ask him questions, but even when he’s on script, he said he’s doing valuable teaching.

“When new drugs come out, the general doctor has no clue about the new product,” said Lowe. “You know, when I go out to Wichita, Kansas or Kansas City or Asheville, North Carolina, where there are no significant medical schools associated with them, I actually provide a real service in terms of education — even if the talks are scripted.”

But for talks that are supposed to be purely educational, there seems to be a lot of secrecy. WNYC called the seven companies in the ProPublica database, and asked if it could observe a presentation. Each company declined. And none would send copies of their slides. Lowe wouldn’t provide a copy either. He said the slides were company property and he could get into trouble if he passed them out. But Lowe maintained he himself has nothing to hide and that he’s proud to speak about company products.

“I’m educating my colleagues about products that I’ve researched and used and believe in,” said Lowe.

Disapproval From Top Medical Schools

But Lowe’s position on his speaking activities puts him squarely at odds with Columbia’s medical school, where he teaches. After WNYC interviewed Lowe, it found out Columbia’s policy now “strongly discourages” its faculty from giving talks about company products, especially with company slides.

Anne Taylor is the Vice Dean of Academic Affairs and oversees compliance with the school’s ethics guidelines. She said physicians and the pharmaceutical industry should collaborate in the research and development of drugs, but dinner talks are different. They’re marketing talks, not educational lectures, because they focus doctors on a single product.

“We have certain standards that we think a Columbia University faculty member should adhere to, and one of those is intellectual independence,” said Taylor. “We don’t want our faculty to use their Columbia University titles as a marketing tool.

As of January 2011, Taylor (right) says Columbia will prohibit all faculty members from getting paid by drug companies to talk about specific products.

A small, but growing, number of medical schools are following this trend. Harvard University’s medical school will have the same speaking ban next year. It’s a movement medical ethicists are glad to see.

“How can patients you’re treating, readers of your articles, listeners of your lectures — how can they trust that you are unbiased in what you’re telling them when you’re getting so much money?” said Carl Elliott, a professor at the Center for Bioethics at the University of Minnesota, who has written extensively about the relationship between doctors and pharmaceutical companies.

WNYC asked Franklin Lowe if he knew Columbia’s policy on his speaking activities. Lowe said he was surprised. In all his 25 years of teaching at Columbia, he said he never heard the school discourages its faculty from giving these kinds of presentations. And he didn’t think it was the wisest policy.

“Certainly one would think that you’d like to have the best and brightest and your smartest who are the ones that are out there doing the education for the pharmaceutical companies,” said Lowe in a phone interview.

Lowe says he’s not sure he really will quit the dinner talks next year. And he may not have to right away. Vice Dean Taylor says Columbia still hasn’t decided how it will actually enforce its new speaking ban, even though at last count, four of the ten highest paid speakers in the ProPublica database for New York City are Columbia professors.

Dollars for Docs is an ongoing investigation by ProPublica and other news organizations. Partners for this story include WNYC radio, The Dallas Morning News, The Detroit News, San Francisco Chronicle, Health News Florida and Colorado Public Radio.

Does Dr. Cathal P Grant MD, Bedford, Texas, get paid by the drug companies to push their drugs on you, if you need them or not, yes he does look below:

The real truth about the money paid to Cathal Grant by the drug Companies

Notice Dr. Cathal P Grant MD, Bedford, Texas is paid by Eli Lilly, Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca, Cephalon, GlaxoSmithKline, and Pfizer to push their drug in our opinion it is clear what Dr. Cathal P Grant MD, Bedford, Texas is doing, prescribing drug if you need them or not.

Doctors Paid Big By Drug Companies?

One patient statement about Dr. Cathal P Grant MD, Bedford, Texas:

“We found out that he gets paid to speak for almost every drug company out there, even if the drugs are competitors. He is out to make the money and it is apparent the way patients are herded through the practice with no regard for the patient’s needs. Beware if he tries to prescribe you a “new” drug on the market, it probably means they are paying him now. “


In our experience Dr. Cathal P Grant MD, Bedford, Texas, does not tell you one big fact that you the patient has and that is Informed Consent, Dr. Cathal P Grant MD, Bedford, Texas, does not discuss this or wants you to know about this, in our experience so he can get you hooked on psychotropic medications so you can do nothing but feed you greed for money, and you do not care at all what you do to the patient’s life.

This video proves what we are saying in our opinion about Cathal Grant’s medical practice, it also shows how Cathal Grant does not want you to have informed consent in your visit with him, and he does not tell you the truth, as the video below shows:


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    • In My Opinion Free Speech site was attacked I guess they do not like the truth to be told
      It seems like that when you supply the truth as  In my opinion free speech does, and you start exposing the drugs, drug companies, and the people responsible for hurting so many innocent people who among many actions, break up marriages and basically ruinin people’s lives and careers by their actions and drugs they use wrongly, and abusively, that when Related posts: In my opinion the drug Cathal Grant is paid by Eli Lilly to push on you if you need it or not, has major issues as told in the article “Suicide and Cymbalta” In my opinion: What’s really behind the school shootings. In tha case of Cathal Grant his patient have attacked members of thier won family, even though the famly members warned his what what going on, all Cathal Grant wants to do is keep people hooked on the drug hie is supplying if they need the drigs or not. In my opinion the truth about the drugs Cathal Grant Prescribes and the facts he does not want you to know: Mental Health Watchdog Launches Psychiatric Drug Side Effects Database—Search All Drug Regulatory Agency Warnings, Studies & Adverse Reactions Reports
    • In my Opinion the payment still being made to Cathal Grant to give you medication you may not need
      Dr. Cathal P Grant MD, Bedford, Texas, is still accepting money from the drug companies , our experience to push the drugs if you need them or not. Payments: At a Glance 566 payments $210,057 payment total Rank: 8 out of 1,268 doctors in this specialty and state Drugs & Devices Totals listed below account Related posts: In my opinion a release Eli Lilly: Lying is the Best Defense The drug company who pays Cathal Grant (Cathal Grant’s total payment $151,474.00 since 2010 by all drug companies) to give you medication you may not need In my opinion a report: Psychology Professor: Grief and anxiety are not mental illnesses; People need help & understanding not labels & medication, but Cathal Grant will label you and give you drugs if you need them or not, all he wants is the money for office visits, and credit with the drug companies for the drug he has perscribed and hooked you on they have paid him $151,474.00 since 2010. In my opinion asks the question: Why Must Everything Be a Medical Condition? ADHD prescriptions soar 50% in six years, In Cathal Grant’s case he getd patients hooked on these drugs for nothing more than he own personal gains and his payment by the drug companies to increse thier profits by prescribing these drug if you need them or not.
    • In my opinion Cathal Grant the doctor and drugs in Medicare Part D a real tale of over prescribing for money
      Dr. Cathal P Grant MD, Bedford, Texas, is still accepting money from the drug companies which brings his total to $151,474.00 since 2010, our experience to push the drugs if you need them or not.   Source: Pro Publica   Cathal Grant keeps in our opinion  increasing his wrongful prescribing of drug these patients do Related posts: In My Opinion SSRI Tragedy a Real Risk, and Cathal Grant does not care what the drugs he prescribes to you does, all he is interested in is the money he collects for the 2 to 5 minute office visits and what the drug companies pay him to push their drugs In my opinion News: Media Ignores Real Story in Conn School Shooting, and Cathal Grant keeps prescribing the same class of drug that has caused these incidents, caring for nothing but his office visit fees In my Opoinon Report on Cathal Grant Prescriber Checkup The Doctors and Drugs in Medicare Part D, the time Cathal Grant spends with his patient 2 to 5 minutes is not enough time to do a proper diganosis, just to push drugs on unsupecting Medicare and other patients, like the drug companies pay him to do if they need the drug or not in our experience Cathal Grant a true legal drug pusher
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      Dr. Cathal P Grant MD, Bedford, Texas, is still accepting money from the drug companies which brings his total to $151,474.00 since 2010, our experience to push the drugs if you need them or not.   In our experience the facts below prove Dr. Cathal P Grant MD, Bedford, Texas, is doing what he paid Related posts: In my opinion: When it comes to Anti-depressants, it appears profit, not benefits, outweigh the risks and Dr. Cathal P Grant MD, Bedford, Texas practice is for nothing but profit his profit , he spends only 2 to 5 minutes with each patient so he can make the most profit by seeing the maxium number of patients each day and it is the patients who gets hooked on these drug in his practice when they do not need these drug at all. In my opinion a Documentary: The Drugging of Our Children, and Cathal Grant will drug you children, not because they need it only so he can get them hook on the drugs for more profit for him and the drug companies who pay him to push their drugs In my Opinion: Top psychiatrist: ‘We are turning childhood into a disease’ all for the prifit of Cathal Grand and the drug companies who pay him to get prople hooked on these drugs
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      Danish Doctor Offers Ten Myths About Psychotropic Drugs Design & Trend – January 23, 2014 By Pete Calautti Source: Design & Trend & CCHR Dr. Peter Gotzsche has created a controversy and sparked criticism over what he sees as a damaging over-prescription of drugs by psychiatrists. Gotzsche recently compiled a list of ten common myths held Related posts: In my Opinon Dr. Mercola Explains that Psychotropic Drug Use Associated with Increased Risk for Car Crashes, But Cathal Grant is a pro profit not for patient doctor who wants to get you hooked on these drugs reguardless of how you life is affected by these drugs In my opinion a Report: Mental Disorders: The Facts Behind the Marketing Campaign and Cathal Grant knows if you read this information you will come to the conclusion he is only in the business of pushing drugs you do not need using false diganostic methods and theories no longer accepted by the medical community. In my opinon the facts exposed: Psycho-Pharma Front Groups The Campaign to “Stop the Stigma” of “Mental Illness” was launched by…. the Pharmaceutical Industry, the same drug companies who pay Cathal Grant to get you hooked on their drugs of you need them or not.