Drug Companies Accused of Bribing Doctors

Eleven sales executives from TAP Pharmaceutical Products are going on trial, accused of paying kickbacks to doctors and hospitals to get them to buy the company's medications. The company, based in Lake Forest, Ill., has already paid $875 million to settle charges that it inflated prices on its prostate cancer drug Lupron, and that the company bribed doctors to prescribe it. According to the indictment, the drug company executives gave doctors ski trips to Aspen, Colo., and golf outings to Scottsdale, Ariz., and Santa Barbara, Calif., and there was money disguised as "educational grants" that covered doctors' bar tabs at cocktail parties.

Other drug companies are also being investigated for allegedly bribing doctors to order their products. The net result, say prosecutors, is that consumers and government health plans are spending tens of millions of dollars more than they need to for medications. According to one attorney, TAP employees participated "in a broad scheme that picked the pockets of many cancer-stricken elderly Americans and all taxpayers."

This is really not beaking news, as this practice has been going on for many years, but it just serves to further confirm the message I am getting out, which is that the traditional medical paradigm is seriously flawed, and as a consumer it is up to you to arm yourself with facts about prescription drugs and other health care matters prior to making your decision to accept them.

ABC News April 13, 2004

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