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Drug Companies Reduce Payments to Doctors as Scrutiny Mounts

Continued reporting on the influence of pharmaceutical money on medicine spurred tighter rules at medical schools across the nation.

(iStockPhoto)

This is part of our year-end series, looking at where things stand in each of our major investigations.

Some of the nation's top medical schools cracked down on professors who give paid promotional talks for drugmakers last year, and the firms themselves cut back on such spending in the wake of mounting scrutiny.

Last year began with the University of Colorado Denver and its affiliated teaching hospitals launching an overhaul of conflict-of-interest policies after ProPublica found that more than a dozen of its faculty members had given paid promotional talks.

"We're going to just have to say we're not going to be involved with these speakers bureaus because they're primarily marketing," Dr. Richard Krugman, vice chancellor for health affairs, said in an interview in January 2011.

A few months later, Stanford University took disciplinary action against five faculty members identified by ProPublica who had taken money to deliver drug company speeches, a violation of university policy.

And by last fall, there were indications that pharmaceutical companies were also reducing the money they spent on doctor speakers.

ProPublica first published its Dollars for Docs database in October 2010 listing payments to doctors from seven drug companies. When we updated it this September -- with data from five additional companies -- spending by some of the firms was down.

Cephalon, a relatively small Pennsylvania company that specializes in pain, cancer and central nervous system drugs, paid physicians nearly $9.3 million in 2009 for speaking and consulting. That figure dropped to $5 million in 2010.

AstraZeneca cut its spending on speakers from roughly $22.8 million in the first half of 2010 to about $9.2 million in the second half. Both companies cited business reasons for the decline.

Throughout 2011, ProPublica also examined the hefty financial support drug and medical-device makers give to medical societies and health advocacy groups and the impact it has on the groups' positions.

At the national conference of the Heart Rhythm Society in San Francisco, companies sponsored much of what doctors saw -- hotel key cards, bus banners, ads on staircases, even motorcyclists driving mini-billboards in a continuous loop around the Moscone convention center. Nearly 50 percent of the society's funding in 2010 came from the drug and medical device industry. (We even created a neat interactive graphic that allows you to virtually tour the hotel and exhibit hall.)

The society, which represents doctors who treat abnormal heart rhythms, said its funders don't influence its positions, but it unveiled a new policy requiring more detailed disclosure of board members' industry ties.

Then, last month, ProPublica reported about the extensive ties between makers of narcotic painkillers and the American Pain Foundation, which bills itself as the nation's largest organization representing patients afflicted by pain. The foundation received nearly 90 percent of its income in 2010 from drug and device makers and takes positions that closely align with the companies.

Despite a steep rise in overdose deaths tied to the drugs, the foundation has said the risk of addiction to the drugs has been overhyped and that, if anything, they are underused.

Like the heart society, the pain foundation said its funders have no influence on its positions.

ProPublica also investigated why physicians were not disciplined or prosecuted after they were accused in federal lawsuits of taking kickbacks from drug or device companies or pushing drugs for unapproved uses.

We reviewed lawsuits against 15 drug and device companies that were settled since 2006. None of the more than 75 doctors named as participants in alleged schemes were sanctioned by state medical boards or pursued by prosecutors, ProPublica found.

Last year, dozens of news outlets around the country used our data to localize stories about conflicts of interest in medicine -- bringing the discussion to communities large and small.

Dr.Stephen Keister

Jan. 3, 2012, 3:30 p.m.

This report on progress is encouraging…..I view this corruption not only as a retired physician but as a patient being treated for a malignancy. I find it difficult to watch TV in general, as a mindless way of spending ones time, but am particularly aggravated by my colleagues in the fields of internal medicine, rheumatology, cardiology, and ophthalmology acting as prostitutes to the pharmaceutical companies on screen. The plastic surgeons/dermatologists who do so I can understand !

Would be that once again a physician would become a professional rather than a business-man, and once again concern ourselves with patient care rather than acquiring riches.

evan s levine

Jan. 3, 2012, 3:42 p.m.

http://open.salon.com/blog/dr_evan_levine/2011/12/21/take_this_new_drug_it_will_help_you


This may interest many.    Story about how my uncle’s endocrinologist tried to force him to take Tekturna.

Walter D. Shutter, Jr.

Jan. 3, 2012, 3:53 p.m.

Dr. Keister:  Your colleagues are not acting as prostitutes; they are acting as pimps.  Give them some credit.

To overlook the hospitals especially in the small communities would be an oversight of the power and control over doctors who must have hospital privilages in the communities. 

Investment opportunities are the basis of survival of the “for profit” hospital to which select investment corporation’ doctors, pharmaceutical corporation, insurance companies and private parties make a profit at the cost of the health and welfare of the society.

arnold kleinmd

Jan. 3, 2012, 5:07 p.m.

Arnold W. Klein, MD
Professor of Medicine and Dermatology
UCLA
Klein Chair in Dermatology UCLA
Consultant to the General and Plastic Surgery Devices Panel of the FDA.
To whom it may concern:

The Cal Med Board is guilty of Fraudulent behavior towards me. 

1) In 1985 I complained to the Ca Med Board that UCLA Dept of Pathology would not section tissue of an HIV positive patient. The Board did not respond.

2) In 2007 I complained to the Ca Med Board about an unlicensed foreign physician Gottfried Lemperle injecting women’s faces with Plexiglas. The Board did not respond.

3) I have notified then Ca Medical Board that both Allergan and Medicis have employed foreign unlicensed physicians without green cards to practice in California. The Board did not respond. It should be noted that Ron Moy who served as head of the board served as a consultant to both companies.

4) Ron Moy allowed David Rish to store over 1000 medical charts stolen from my office at his facility.

5) Mickey Fine Pharmacy has been guilty of renewing my prescriptions without calling my treating doctors and saying I self-prescribed

6) MF was also guilty of giving out-dated narcotics to one of my employees for destruction. Two people can only perform destruction of narcotics and this employee was a recovering addict. Subsequently this employee died of a narcotic overdose.

7) The records of Michael Jackson were illegally released violating HIPAA. Again this was reported to the medical board.

8) I was not the physician administering Demerol in my office in May 2009 to Mr. Jackson contrary to what was stated during the Murray trial. For Judge Partridge to allow such misinformation to be disseminated on television and for my Attorney Mr. Garo Gharzanian not to clarify this during his numerous interviews brings into question whether AEG had any influence over these proceedings. It was Dr.David Rish and Dr.Illya Reyter who administered the Demerol in May of 2009.

8) I have been cleared The Coroner in the Jackson case and he did not find any Demerol in his toxicology analysis. This rules out any possible involvement by myself in the death of Michael Jackson.
.
9) Mr. Jackson autopsy clearly indicated he had marks consistent with Skin Popping administration of drugs during the last 2-3 weeks of his life. Propofol administered in this manner would have severe effects on the ability of Mr. Jackson to make rational decisions during this time frame; this would invalidate any financial decisions he made during this period. In that Mr. Jackson changed legal representation 7 days before his death why did the authorities not question this decision?

11) Among the main sources of information the Medical Board are using include the following: Jason Pfeiffer, Muhammad Khilji, David Rish, and Ilyah Raydor. Is the Medical Board aware these individuals have embezzled $12- $20 million from me. nderous statements about me as well as stories have been printed concerning this prejudiced investigation in the media which are totally libelous. For the medical board to allow Ms West to publicize her investigation in this disgraceful manner brings shame and dishonor on the board itself and questions the ability of the board itself to evaluate the issues especially when the exhead of the board allowed storage of over 1000 medical charts stolen from my office. For Ms. To seem to be totally unaware of the embezzlement committed by her sources indicates the prejudiced and totally incomplete and fraudulent nature of her investigation and accusations.

Just attack Big Pharma and see what happens to you

Arnold William Klein MD

Thank you for providing a real vital public service in exposing how money influences medicine in the U.S. It is very unfortunate that mainstream media doesn’t do its job/

In this rapidly developeing digital communication era, such an honest electronic Media: ProPublica with the truth only -will help USA to remain still the best Humanitarian and Political Power in the World.

The more members of the Global Public gets to know about such Medias, the faster will be the positive change. Even slow progress is Okay, as these information in the digital networks are indestructible and sooner or later going to financially benefit mainly every hard working citizen of USA.

My former , now fired UCH MD’s said “they only get in trouble if they don’t report money from pharmaceutical companies.”
This one in particular favored AZeneca meds, I reacted to almost all of them. My UCH records are full of amended amendments and “addended” and a canceled MRI that the radiologist could change to include “contrast” metal gadolinium if he chose. This MRI that I did not know about and would have had to schedule was canceled by Ms. LeMay at 0637 in the morning. I have meds ordered that I didn’t know about, but only got one Rx. I did not take it, that ID MD does not know HSV vs flea bites, neither of which I have. No titres for herpes/shingles, no fleas on dogs. She is a dunce. That skin biopsy, never did get the complete report. the 5000 pages of fillers for appts , to include over 400 pages of filler for 5 appts last year, all a sham, invalid record.

This is an era of awareness, nothing can be kept secret. The real bad faces behind the apparently serious looking state of affairs will continue to be exposed slowly.
Please on this somewhat off beat issue:
My case will surely help Rupret Murdoch: He’d be benefited, should my posting comes to his knowledge.
Please read how reality will become better:

In this rapidly developing digital communication era, it is possible to find out electronically the exact whereabouts of hackers. But only need to abolish some privacy laws allowing Internet controller by (and only now, by current most honest US political power & Govt.) openly declared a simple new policy of unrestricted access to records of every member of the Global Public (it’s being done secretly -just like a thief does, by an elusive party) and this minor change will reward USA to remain still the best Humanitarian and Political Power in the World. Good guys have nothing to be afraid about because their digital records won’t be even checked when honest guys openly take control of monitoring!
Regardless, such laws be made or not, a few dishonest manipulators, just like operators of an elusive but Fake Crocodile, are now and in the future forever will monitor each and every global citizen’s records of activities. Therefore, every good citizen everywhere should blindly demand the early mentioned change in privacy laws.

In North-America, the negatively powerful bad lawmakers (appointed by too greedy businessmen / Dealers of OIL, Drugs and War-Weapons with same qualities and mentalities of bullying wealthy thugs) will never want to pass such public benefiting laws, unless the public become aware of overall impact of this apparently simple but highly significant change causing factors.

The more members of the Global Public gets to know about such things, the faster will be the positive change. Even slow progress is Okay, as these information in the digital networks are indestructible and sooner or later going to financially benefit mainly every hard working citizen of USA and elsewhere.

I have personally collected numerous proofs and digital evidences of how a few inhumanly -bad guys inside public power handling authorities can virtually take form of a ‘dishonestly too powerfiul Elusive Crocodile’ that even exist in Canada’s great Judicial system and my voice is either ‘not being heard’ or ‘heard but not addressed by fearful good heads’ despite providing them some clear like day-light evidences and also in ‘black and white.’
I know, the same inhumanly -bad guys exist in our same territorial power of USA too and only the Public of North-America can change the practice of dishonest manipulation of the laws in the old judicial systems. 

I Forgot to mention at the beginning that: By phone hacking and /or similar means the Elusive Crocodile in Canada have manipulated too many of my personal records, voice recordings, Reporters’ transcripts etc. in the Government’s files and records including the Crown Corporation’s and Canada’s Great judicial systems’.

Shahislam

Show me just one person who isn’t influenced by money, and I’ll show you a dead guy.

Drug companies reduce payments?  Hmmm…I suppose they’ll raise the price of office visits to compensate.

They have to pay off all of that imaging equipment GE foisted on them as a new “profit center” somehow, ya know.

Personally, I find most of this to be nothing short of treasonous.  The American doctors are very aware and have been aware of the harmful effects of medication put out from companies like “Bayer” for years.  Formerly IG Farben, the German Pharmaceutical company actually ran a concentration camp during WW II.  Of course German doctors and nurses were hung for their part in running concentration camps as well. 

Adolph Hitler was drugged by his doctor, which explains much of his “odd” behavior.  I’ve seen the interviews in which his doctor claimed Adolph seemed “normal”.  I could see how one could conclude this if he was getting paid to drug the man up.  Of course the company was also a supporter of the Nazi party, and were found to be major financial contributors to the war.  Amazing what people will pay and do when they are hooked on harmful substances.

If American doctors have been aware of this and have drugged up the leadership of our country, knowing full well the consequences of the harm they are doing, I personally think it is treasonous to the individual and this Nation.  Of course Representative Woo was on Pharmaceuticals when he was dressing up in his Tiger Suit and now facing rape charges, I guess we should all be so normal…

Frank Giramonti

Jan. 4, 2012, 7:25 p.m.

Ms. Weber and Mr. Ornstein are basically the champions of doctor bashing. There are about 700,000 physicians in the USA, and the incidence of legal action against doctors is less than 1 %. Compared to other professions it is far less. Of the 700,000 physicians 50% are primary care doctors( frontline, in the trenches docs) average salary $190,000.00. The other 50% are specialist average salary $350,000.00. That is $100,000.00 less than the editor of propublica Paul Steiger who earns $450,000.00/year.
Sad are the comments, many psychotic at best, malicious at worst.
Finally, it is tragic, to see a pseudo leftist organization such as propublica, accepting advertisements from entities like credit swisse, fast food companies and many other questionable businesses.

Frank, I personally have three incidents going through Medical boards as we speak.  I hope to see more in the future from others.  As a man who has a mother and a daughter hooked on prescription drugs, I’d say you are fairly blind.
If there ever was a psychotic on this planet, it is a doctor.  They’ve been killing people for years with this harmful garbage.  The only reason why there are not more cases against them are because of the HIPPA laws which as far as I’m concerned are ridiculous. 
Personally, I don’t care who would look at my medical records, admittedly they are fairly small as I don’t see a drug dealing doctor every two weeks to get a fix…
Funny you’re going to attack left leaning organizations for highlighting this when the right leaning organizations have been hiding this for years…

Can you clarify, Frank?  Are you saying that:
(a) The problem is fictional,
(b) Doctors prescribing drugs based on a sales sheet and a drug company pay-out is ethical, or
(c) With “only” two hundred thousand dollars a year, doctors should be allowed to act unethically to make ends meet?

I assume it’s not the first, because the events are well-documented.

Personally, I blame the bad doctors for doing bad things.  I also blame the drug companies for encouraging them.  You appear to be blaming the reporters for documenting it.

Frank is a perfect example of one who practices “cultivated ignorance”
and shoul read the following very carefully:

“The greater part of mankind are naturally apt to be affirmative and dogmatical in their opinions; and while they see objects only on one side, and have no idea of any counterpoising argument, they throw themselves precipitately into the principles, to which they are inclined; nor have they any indulgence for those who entertain opposite sentiments. To hesitate or balance perplexes their understanding, checks their passion, and suspends their action. They are, therefore, impatient till they escape from a state, which to them is so uneasy: and they think, that they could never remove themselves far enough from it, by the violence of their affirmations and obstinacy of their belief. But could such dogmatical reasoners become sensible of the strange infirmities of human understanding, even in its most perfect state, and when most accurate and cautious in its determinations; such a reflection would naturally inspire them with more modesty and reserve, and diminish their fond opinion of themselves, and their prejudice against antagonists. The illiterate may reflect on the disposition of the learned, who, amidst all the advantages of study and reflection, are commonly still diffident in their determinations: and if any of the learned be inclined, from their natural temper, to haughtiness and obstinacy, a small tincture of Pyrrhonism might abate their pride, by showing them, that the few advantages, which they may have attained over their fellows, are but inconsiderable, if compared with the universal perplexity and confusion, which is inherent in human nature. In general, there is a degree of doubt, and caution, and modesty, which, in all kinds of scrutiny and decision, ought for ever to accompany a just reasoner.”

written by David Hume a couple hundred years ago, still works!

Michael Smith

Jan. 5, 2012, 10:32 p.m.

They should compensate us. I’ve been purchasing expensive drugs but in the reality, it is only cheap.

raw land

Richard Friedel

Jan. 6, 2012, 1:43 a.m.

The shameful lack of asthma research.
The mention of asthma as a purportedly scientifically understood and treated disease shows the reliance on a how many angels on the head of a pin type of surrealistic argument here, betraying the aims of the authors to confirm the medical wisdom on the disease..  The extensive scientific writings on inspiratory muscle training and the widespread use of the respective appliances clearly indicates not only that asthma symptoms may be eliminated by such training but also that the muscle deconditioning effects of asthma drugs must be responsible for the epidemic.  Furthermore all too relevant is the shameful utter absence of any serious enquiry about causation due to treatment even despite the alarming increase in asthma morbidity.  Obviously anyone afflicted by the disorder should consult a physician aware of the developments. RF

If someone among readers do not like to read this post (I posted in many World Class News Papers), I ask for apology.
But we can’t deny the fact that it’s time for New kind of Politics with lots of US Job creation posibilities far away in the overseas.

Long term sanctions to force them (not only Iran) sell oil for cheaper price is stronger than weapons of Wars.

All credit eternally go to wise guys starting with truly honorable Mr. Barack Obama.
This is an example:
Hard working entire notion of Germany need not to worry because their strength is in their mussles of arms, not in arms of army anymore.


Please! There should be no secret, even in national, International political levels, policy making etc. and each bad guy will be caught by the digital signatures left behind, if financial crime protecting old privacy law etc. are modified. Water bomb may replace nuclear bombs and shall we need this type symbolic weapons to fight insurgents in the deserts after globally banning production, selling and use of private guns?


Negativity and brutalities are taken care of by the same things and @ 50% cosmic rule.


Do the current world’s International leaders with the mentality of Bangladeshi political leaders have any idea what it is all about?


******** A Prudent US President?‘s wise thoughts and actions for benefiting hard working middle class portion of US public are better than what we may note from out of date political or holibooks.


Just consider: A poor country: Bangladesh spends almost half of its annual national bugget for maintainence of its Military but what benefit its hard working public gets when that piece of land -“situated in a near future’s strategically best and busiest commercial transiting spot”, desperately needs dozens of bridges and highways to conveniently connect Southern China and India with its economically profitable Bay of Bengal sea Ports.


Everybody deserves to be get paid for good work and labor but where is the money? How govt. can collect the funds? Letting higher rate govt. Taxes on fuel but make Oil price drop by more sanctions? Of course it’s possible!


Secendly, catching greedy businessmen with digital proofs is easy now. Tax evading wealthy filthies all over the world are now at risk, not only kings and prime ministers of oil rich and / or third world countries but every animalistically selfish, too greedy Billionaires and Millionaires who are reaping the fruits of othes’ hard labors (Unbelieavly, Some hard working labors at this era of awareness even get brutally beheaded in public by the hands of bullying thugs or country heads in the name of God, religions or primitive politics).


However, all type of blood-shed-causing Wars including old-days patriotic, hereditary egoistic, Oil money induced ones etc. are not being considered as great things anymore, unlike past, by the interconnected global new generation that has much better things to do and worried about.

Correction: I am the one apologizing and not asking apology.
Sorry for mistake.

@Shahislam:  At least in the United States, I don’t believe banning guns is either wise or realistic; we have too many people (well, not all that many…but they have an awful lot of money) attempting to corrupt our democracy and replace it with a dictatorship by a committee of the wealthy operating behind the scenes.

They’re already succeeding; should they achieve all of the success they desire, they’ll control the nation’s police forces and military and the judicial system will be a rubber stamp process.

Further, they have shown no sign of benevolent intent; in fact, their goal appears to be the transformation of the American people into abusable disposable tools - if and only if the concerned Americans can be used for profit or war.  If not…emphasis on the disposed.

The way things are shaping up, the American people cannot afford to disarm.

ibsteve2u,
I an glad to note your comment. I don’t disagree with you and I am never expecting the change will occur overnight.
But some good heads sooner or later have to start the process slowly beginning with banning private guns first.
Except humanitarian USA, there is not a single powerful enough nation -which can lead the UN in the disarmament process.

Overwhelmingly, almost all hard-working people everywhere (global public members) hate guns and here lies the opportunity for USA to earn more global respect and continue its leadership in a new non-violent way. By causing terror leadership could be earned always but not respect because wisdom is spreading now faster than ever. (unlike past, from my personal research on younger generation).
May be I am a little too optimistically hoping for the best.
Thanks a lot for your wise thoughts.

Interesting discussion. I have a clinical background and worked in pharma for 22 years. In the last 10 years I focused on philanthropy, professional relations, and eradicating the problems on both sides of the fence: the company for which I worked and the university-based physician thought-leaders in terms of how we would interface.  The program was very transparent and established ethical practices so that it was in complete compliance with all agencies and professional societies.  Sadly, as the pilot project came to an end, politics emerged and it all came to an end.  Was it corporate lip-speak?  In the end, I have to believe it was. 

So two years ago I created a not-for-profit entity to address pharma/academic physician interface.  It would have benefited all sides.  However it was the universities who declined to participate because they didn’t want to give up existing financial relationships.  I am told “It is an idea whose time has yet to come.” What will it take?  Legislation? 

The problem is on both sides.

As a patient I want my physician to write a script with my best interest in mind. In no way do I want my doctor to have a financial relationship with the drug company that sells the drug.

If I learned my doctor had received payments of any kind from the drug company on my script, as far as I’m concerned that physician is now disqualified from making decisions in my health care. Its over Rover. Go get a job at Home Depot for $8 per hour.

Choosing a physician is like shopping for a car. There are plenty of good physicians out there with good ethics, why bother with the clunkers?

go online to http://www.pparx.org and get Rx saving’s cards for as many as you need when you tell them the meds you are buying.
Contact the Rx companies, “social responsibilities” and any organization that supports/advocates for your condition. There are grants, loans, subsidized meds out there, ask for the less costlier Rx, not all new meds are so great and if you are taking new meds, then you are part of the “post marketing trial” until the real effects are shown with a larger group, not the rinkydink clinical trial group that hid the real effects from the public marketing and fda. that’s another story. Most all new meds are relabeled to include NME. ? New molecular entity, TC99 a nuclear tracer, gamma emitter, stays in the body a long time ,esp if on daily meds, can be used for counterfeiting,but why do humans need to ingest this or put it on their skin as in Ovide-malathion lotion for Lice with NME, TC99, used on kids, you can inhale this, inject it, aka Sestambi 9.9 , Cardiolyte,  whatever fancy name they want to call it for your condition.Avoid it. Refuse it. Refuse contrasted scans, opt for less costly scan, know that Ultrasounds and echos, they will find a way to get you to a contrast agent, even if you drink it, eat it or trick you. That’s what it being done. Deception for profits. this is not the only one, see nuclear radiology or nuclear pharmaceuticals. Surprise. many are listed under medical devices as Gadolinium, metal injected for MRI scans… see the MSDS sheet or epa.gov for TC99 and Gadolinium metal.

Karen Copeland

Jan. 7, 2012, 12:45 a.m.

I have MS and as such, of late, my biggest interest drug wise relates to MS drugs and the propaganda that accompanies them. I am also Canadian which makes my MS problems a tad different from my American counterparts. In the US, a person can get venoplasty to address the symptoms of MS. In Canada it is not allowed if the letters MS are on your file; otherwise,it is used often in Canadian Hospitals.. In Canada we know about venoplasty whereas in the US it is often unheard of to MS patients.

If we, in our huge need for symptom relief, come to the States (or go elsewhere where treatment is allowed), we can forget getting any sort of follow up treatment at home. Our MS neuros for the most part have either forgotten what doctoring is all about or they are afraid to go against the power of the MS neuro which seems way out of line with what they know and what they do about MS. Part of this power comes from being the hand picked “experts” of our government.A good part of it comes with the salaries they take home every year, much of it coming via the drug companies. They seem to think that the answer lies in the chemistry lab rather than the biology room and strange as it may seem, they have not done one positive thing in over 60 years to help MSers or to alleviate any of their symptoms. They have, however, killed people with their drugs.

They have proven themselves adept at brainwashing people into thinking that they know how to prevent relapses with expensive chemicals but as an MSer who has never taken their drugs, I can tell you that relapses pick their own times and those times can be as much as decades between each other. They insist that they can replicate MS in mice but I would dearly like to know how that is possible since they seem not to know what causes MS in the first place.

We have one MS neuro who has called us cultists. He has called the various treatments that DO help hoaxes. He does not understand even the most frequent symptom yet he claims to be an expert. To me he is just a drug dealer in a white coat with about the same brain power you might expect to find in you friendly neighbourhood drug addict which is to say, not much.Sadly he teaches his variation of drug tripe to our young med students. When I was first introduced his income came from his hospital position, his teaching position, his government"expert” position and his salesman’s position with the pharmacy companies. His travel, lodging and etc on his sales jaunts was all picked up by the Pharma company he was representing. Oh! I forgot, he was also paid by the MS Society who have more money than God for their CEOs and doctors than for MS patients. I personally would like to see them all behind bars for the rest of their lives. In a truly just society,they would already be there for fraud, conflict of interest, attempted murder and some of them for murder among other things.

I sincerely hope you keep up the pressure on these quacks. Perhaps as Frank says they are only about 1% of all doctors but 1% of his 700,000 total is still 7000 and if you are a patient that is 1% too many quacks and thieves.

Ha ha ha, when will the theives in the disguise of gentlemen and kings will be caught and tried in public?
However, the benevolent public will still produce food and feed the the confined thieves! Thus, the public is most honorable.

“When will the theives in the disquise of gentlemen and kings be caught and tried in public?”

Very good question!

Its called white collar crime, and no industry is immune.  But its getting tougher and tougher to hid wrong doing in today’s world. Communications are better than ever, and we have all witnessed how social media has helped bring down “kings” in recent history.

If not for social media, none of us would be having this conversation. Its a powerful tool against the theives in disguise as gentlemen.

Jennifer Crossfield

Jan. 7, 2012, 2:15 p.m.

I too have MS and I’m sick and tired of our health being for sale. It’s like we have a price on our heads. My worry is that they are just getting more creative in “hiding” their payouts. Thank you for the opportunity to say my piece.

Malcolm Roberts

Jan. 7, 2012, 4:45 p.m.

Thank you ProPublica for taking hold of this subject;  yes we need the big pharmaceutical companies to find drugs for disease,  but sadly the need for corporate greed has now surpassed the desire to be in the business to provide health and welfare support to people who are sick.

And now sadly we can see that our health care givers appear to no longer give care,  preferring to accept (as someone before me has said) bribes to support big pharma in their continuing efforts to increase profits.

I always thought bribery and corruption were crimes,  or does that only apply if you don’t have a college degree ??? 

ProPublica please keep on investigating and following these issues.

@Malcolm Roberts, who emoted “I always thought bribery and corruption were crimes,  or does that only apply if you don’t have a college degree ???”.

The college degree is irrelevant; once Reagan and the Republicans unleashed the greed of the few with “flood-up/trickle-down” economics and made the motto of those few “Greed is good!”, bribery and corruption became “just business”.

If you haven’t noticed, almost everything the Republicans and neoliberal Democrats have done in the intervening time since Reagan - from deregulation to blocking appointments to the CFPB - has been aimed at either making the illegal legal or at making the prevention of the illegal impossible.

Our society is based upon the rule of law, and what the Republicans and neoliberal Democrats have been attacking is the rule of law.  Their intent is to base the dividing line between legal and illegal not upon education, race, religion, or ethnicity but upon the amount of wealth possessed by the perp.

Rephrased, their intent is to make any criminal activity pursued by the wealthy legal while maintaining or increasing the penalty for any criminal act targeting the wealthy.

Grace Davidson

Jan. 7, 2012, 7:19 p.m.

Our society is so corrupt it is absolutely scary.  Yes, doctors are courted by drug reps.  The problem is the drug’s virtues are promoted and nothing is said about the horrendous side affects.  I know too many people who suffered major side affects from big pharma.  I think our society has to start over again.  Doctors do not know how to treat anything anymore, all they know is how to hand out a prescription, and if it is a prescription that will gain them benefits from the drug rep, so much the better.  I personally know a person who was a drug rep and she said it was true they do court the doctors.  So the comment that was made that the doctors are pimps, yes it is true they are.  How sad that is what greed has done to the human race.  My son’s neurologist kept pushing MS drugs on him and he finally agreed to try.  What a huge mistake that was, his condition got worse than ever.  How can drug companies push drugs for MS when they do not even know what causes MS?  And why won’t the doctors accept that it is a condition that has to do with blood circulation?  Why won’t they explore this?  Is it because the condition can be treated with a one time procedure and not a life time on expensive drugs.  Makes one wonder who is in control.  Oh, I forgot,  money is in control and money controls all the greedy people out there even if it causes death to some.  No conscience for the greedy.  There should be laws put in place that make it illegal for drug companies to pay doctors to push their drugs.  And laws for people in government who accept bribes and donations for their party.  Our world is being destroyed by greed.

Pharm reps are doing what they’ve always done, sex, food, parties, even measly pens and lunches, they just are not allowed in the clinical areas with patients. As far as MS being circulatory related, it’s the destruction of the myelin sheath on the nerves, sadly, MRI’s with contrast- that’s Gadolinium,  light up new lesions. but do they check your eGFR, estimated glomular filtration rate? and creatinine, serum?
Do you know your kidney function? You should. CT scans use radioactive iodine, known to be nephrotoxic, kidney toxic, same thing.
Remember, GE contributes to the nonprofit part of Propublica.org.
Doctors have lost their humanity and compassion. Mine are talking about events over 4 years ago, they still are shocked , none of their business. I let them have it now. There are laws for this nonsense, just not being inforced. So, the new theory, idea is to PATENT YOUR own body cells, tissue, blood samples.  There are doctors who have been known to take surgical specimens, read spleen and other tissue, keep it alive in the lab, make meds, genetic processes, etc, and they sell it , and you don’t know this. Read Deadly Monopolies, you’ll see, it’s true about the HeLa cells, her family never knew her cells were/are kept alive in the lab and still used today, no consent, no money to the family, yet the Rx companies have made millions off of this. So, I’m going to contact my attorney and patent my unique cells and rare cystic fibrosis tissues, cells, top 2% of the country, so there, PHarma and the VA and the other hospitals and docs. The VA has big plans to “capture” and retain a huge data base of diseases, tissues, genetics and others, their goal is 1 million soldiers “with consent”.  Mayo clinic has been getting my labs throughout my entire life since a kid, I have the labs slips to show it, yet I’ve never been there, the military sent labs there as many labs send specimens all over the country based on the lab trials, studies, etc. So, all those non FDA approved labs, sometimes insurance pays, sometimes not. My records indicate many labs that are not FDA approved and they have not done anything for me either. So, when they don’t want to Rx meds to me, not going to allow Medicare to pay for non FDA tests and waste my time. None of them have done anything to better my life or change the course of the illness.  Might as well talk to a robot than the doctors they have these days.

It is rather…interesting…how large money moves in as soon as a media source gets a reputation for honesty.  HuffPo and AOL, ProPublica and NBC/GE…“Borg” must stand for “bought or gutted”...whatever; when the golden handcuffs are deployed, you will be assimilated (and wrapped in non-compete clauses, to boot, should you suffer a crisis of conscience).

Discouraging, now that a big push is being made for a central clearinghouse for news in order to crush news aggregators.

http://www.businessweek.com/technology/is-the-aps-newsright-a-carrot-or-a-stick-01062012.html

That - having a requirement for paying before “republishing” (a word with an elastic definition…when does “quoting” become “republishing”??) - will also increase the difficulty of pulling up “old vs. new” in order to demonstrate that a media source or politician was lying then or is lying now.  (They don’t have to accept your money, ya know.) 

Not to mention a central clearinghouse for “news” provides a “one-stop shop” for “adjusting” public perception…but we don’t have any political parties who would do that, right?

Beyond the fact that it seems to me that a requirement to pay for repeating “the news” should be accompanied by a requirement to pay royalties to those who are “in the news”, the ever more pervasive corporate influence upon or or outright control of “the news” is reminiscent of…you name the totalitarian country.

Diane Duchesne

Jan. 8, 2012, 8:33 a.m.

BG 12 Warning it’s NOT a MIRACLE PILL!!! Cousin of Gilenya

I was on the study of BG12 for 18 months, I did not have the placebo pill for sure. I made the decision of quitting BG12 because of the flushing, redness itchy, depressed mood, also when you are on a study well you sign this agreement document and as the study progresses well the study document gets updated with the new findings, each update you sign your life away again. I was feeling so awful the last 6 monts into the study that I decided to look at the study document again, well there it was listed in the other
symptoms “ACCUTE LEUKIMIA” that was my decesion maker no more BG12. My Father’s brother has died from Leukimia so April 1/10 I quit.
Funny when you are in a study your personal nurse and the doc are so nice to you but when you drop out it change the relationship, you are now a quitter subject and you are treated at differently it’s not as warm. I had to meet with the neuro DR Christie to complete my discharge papers. I was explaining to her why I was stopping leukimia flushing etc and I wasn’t feeling good on BG12, she just look up at me and said maybe you are now secondary progressive…..comforting eh I just replied maybe… and I walk out.

This is an extract of the side effects and symptom listed in my copy of the BG12 Study dated May19 2009 Version 9.1:
Possible Side Effects
Flushing (redness of the skin that may be accompanied by feeling warm, burning, or other symptoms)
Headache
Pain in the upper abdomen
Diarrhea
Hot Flush
Pain in the abdomen
Paraesthesia (sensation of burning or prickling of the skin)
Viral Cold
Difficult or painful periods
Increasee in liver enzymes

Serious Side Effects
stomach and intestinal side effects
dehydration
lung infection

Seven patients treated with BG12 had serious cardiac side effect including HEART ATTACK, coronary artery desease and inflamamation of the heart. Two patients who had bad heart attacks died.

Other important Side Effects
Since studies suggest that BG12 affects the immune system it is possible you may be more likely to get an infection during the study. Temporary decreases in white blood cells called lymphocytes and neutrophils and increases in white blood cells called cosinophils

Other Side Effects,
These rare events include allergic skin reactions, ACUTE LEUKEMIA, bone pain and a severe permanent decrease in all blood cell counts.
Is that scary enough for you? The first study paper did not have all those bad side effects listed it didn’t sound harmful but WHAT A KILLER EH!
Take it from Me Diane ...............I’ve been there and it’s not a good place!
What makes me mad is that my ex Neurologist got paid for pushing this drug on me and other MS people, she was the lead in this study so she got a bonus $ for her drug pushing. Biogen is the drug maker for BG12. This BG12 is still being pushed, I met a victim last Sept/11 who is taking this poison with hope that it will make her better…..but it won’t there is no proof that it works…...only that it kills!
Pharmas have no moral’s they only care about making money….not curing people.
I’m glad to read that ProPublica is investigating and finding how Pharmas benefit on peoples lives and only care about making MONEY!
Diane Duchesne

The medical profession has never taken MS seriously and the Pharma companies decided they would help us. Bad idea.
No one but a doctor that has MS can fully explain the disease and they truly believe in CCSVI treatment for MS.
Having had CCSVI twice, I truly believe this is an answer but needs to be studied continuously to see how many neuro-degenerative diseases it can help. 
I am so disappointed with our medical system because it is soo obvious that CCSVI treatment is an answer and all they want to do is continue on the path of finding meds for this illusive disease.
We don’t want drugs if a procedure works.  We need to see doctors working for society and no longer for paychecks from the pharmaceutical companies.

I am just hoping: the wise guys and the public of the entire world get the news on time and support the most honest and unselfish US President: Obama to make the World a better place for entire mankind on Earth, still making USA the best country in the World.
So, I am attaching here what I have just posted in many world famous News Papers.

The comedy of War scenarios in the International horizon is being perpitrated by a bunch of idiots, no one should underestimate Obama’s wisdom because God is behind each honest guys like him; especially, this time around, and kindly trust my words because the source is so clear that I have and no one should have any trace of doubts in minds. Just support whereever you are and try to redistribute the following to all the readers all over the world S.V.P..

 

We’ve updated the calendar


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FROM: •Jeremy Bird, BarackObama.com
TO: •Shah Islam

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Shah—

Taking a glance at the calendar, we’ve got a busy few weeks coming up. First, January 16th is the Martin Luther King, Jr. day of service. Then on January 24th, neighborhood teams will gather to watch the President’s State of the Union address and start planning for the first months of 2012. In between, there are phone banks, canvasses, and trainings all over the country.

And in 302 days, there’s a presidential election to win.

The opportunities to get involved are only going to increase as we get closer to November 6th. That’s why we’re making it as easy as possible for you to stay in the loop on the important organizing work going on in your community.

If you haven’t already, download the interactive Obama Election Calendar today—a first-of-its-kind tool that makes you the first to know about important dates and events in your community.

With this calendar, you’ll be able to see what’s going on in the campaign, customized for you—from upcoming primaries, debates, and events in your hometown to the last day to register to vote in your state. And you can easily add it to your personal calendar, so you can see all that next to everything else on your to-do list.

Our organizing plan is dynamic—what we did last April won’t be what we’re doing this August. This calendar will let you know what phase of our organizing plan we’re in, how we’ll be putting it to work in your community, and how it all relates to the bigger picture.

Stay up to date on how to be involved in this campaign by downloading the Obama Election Calendar:

http://my.barackobama.com/2012-Interactive-Calendar

Thanks,

Jeremy

Jeremy Bird
National Field Director
Obama for America

 

 

 

 

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Shirley Renshaw

Jan. 9, 2012, 1:38 p.m.

Thank you for this most informative article.  It is because of this more people are getting the truth and see the reality.  In Canada such things are never discussed and are at times blatantly denied.  It’s too bad most who have learned of this have health issues.  Those who have a carefree healthy life do not realize what happens in the health care business until they are thrown into it.  We need more exposure to these kind of articles so more will see what is really going on.  Ignorance is not bliss when it comes to Big Banks, Big Pharma and the FDA.

Thank you again and keep up the great reporting.

Mid, Dr. Mid.

Jan. 21, 2012, 5:05 p.m.

My mom went into the ER for high blood preasure. Her doc requested her to get a spinal tap. She refused. The ins. company didn’t want to cover her cuz she “refused treatment”.

That’s what’s wrong with our medical industry. It’s run buy fuckin’ idiots! Just cuz you have a doctorate doesn’t mean you actually earned it and know what that fuck you’re talking about.

My karma must stink.  Here I’ve been defending the medical field and their use of drugs on the basis that they almost universally act in good faith, and Voila!  Fox finds a psychiatrist willing to say that Newt Gingrich’s serial adultery will make him a better President:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/21/keith-ablow-fox-news-newt-gingrich-marriages_n_1220761.html

Man…the only thing that trickles down from our right is corruption - and it would appear that the medical field is far from immune.

This article is part of an ongoing investigation:
Dollars for Doctors

Dollars for Doctors: How Industry Money Reaches Physicians

ProPublica is tracking the financial ties between doctors and medical companies.

The Story So Far

ProPublica is investigating the financial ties between the medical community and the drug and device industry. In October 2010, ProPublica compiled the list of payments that drug companies make to physicians and built a publicly searchable database so that patients could look up their doctors.

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