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The Drug Rep Conspiracy

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posted on Aug, 12 2005 @ 12:51 PM
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Just make an appointment with your doctor and go sit in the waiting room, and you will see who the doctor's office really revolves around. The drug reps come and go, no appointments, no waiting (unless there is another rep already inside). I have personally seen three reps go in and out of my doctor's office while I waited an hour or more to see him. It is the same in every practice I've seen.

Why is this, you might, or might not, ask?

Is it free samples? Important industry information that must be delivered in person? What makes these drug reps so important to doctors that they come and go virtually at will, always welcome, sometimes bringing lunch for the whole office? They even sponsor lavish dinners and events for their favorite doctors, basically paying for brand loyalty.

Is that it, then? Are doctors taking what amounts to payments for endorsing the latest, greatest pharmaceutical giant's offering of the silver-bullet magic pill? Is this moral, ethical, and legal? Most importantly, is it helping patients recover from illness and improve their health, or is it helping doctors and drug companies get richer? From the problems that have caused some of the latest drugs to be taken off the market, I'd say the latter. But didn't the government re-certify Vioxx? Even after a bunch of people died from heart-attacks while taking it? Is that the drug lobby I hear laughing all the way to the bank? I don't know, I can't get in to see my doctor about my hearing problem until October. He's busy seeing drug reps.




posted on Aug, 12 2005 @ 04:15 PM
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Erm...

Drugs are products for sale....and as such....

They have salespeople, and as with any product, there is much competition amongst the same types of products....I'm not entirely sure what you're asking here.

Believe it or not, drug reps are the bane of the lives of most doctors. Doctors don't want to waste time with drug reps. There's not much in it for them, for one thing....a doctor can receive financial support for partaking in a clinical trial, for example, but (whether or not you believe this is a different matter entirely) such trials are usually blinded (or double blinded), and the doctor doesn't know which drug his patient is getting anyway...it's not as if he can hint at one versus placebo, or one versus a similar drug. I digress. Generally, your friendly doctor isn't getting a kickback for prescribing one over the other; he'll receive "free samples" of several brands of the same type of drug, and he'll be subject to the same overzealous marketing and sales techniques as you would be if you were buying a mattress. Perhaps more to the point though, time spent with a drug rep is time that can't be spent with a patient who is paying for services (either directly or with insurance; there's no difference really).

Is it ethical? Yes and no.

Yes, because doctors aren't paid to recommend one brand over another. No, because they still might recommend one over the other based on less clinical aspects (ie, yearly "treats" supplied by Joe's Drug Company, versus "Joe's drug is actually better at what it does than Bill's drug"). At least though, you're being offered the same type of drug, regardless of brand....

Vioxx is still off the market; Merck voluntarily withdrew the drug; the sad truth is we don't start to see how a drug reacts in a large population until after it's been approved and it's available to the public in larger numbers. That's when you generally start seeing serious side effects that may not have been evident during trials.

And it sounds like you need a different doctor. Find one with a clearer schedule, or face the likelihood that if he's good at his job, you're going to have a long waiting list.

Drug reps aren't universally beloved.

Believe me


df1

posted on Aug, 12 2005 @ 04:20 PM
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Originally posted by Tinkleflower
he'll receive "free samples" of several brands...


I know an elderly gentleman that can not afford the drugs he needs and his doctor has been giving him the samples he receives from the drug reps for going on 4 years now.
.



posted on Aug, 12 2005 @ 04:28 PM
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Originally posted by df1

Originally posted by Tinkleflower
he'll receive "free samples" of several brands...


I know an elderly gentleman that can not afford the drugs he needs and his doctor has been giving him the samples he receives from the drug reps for going on 4 years now.
.


Yup. My exhusband's mother got her supplies of both Paxil and Fosemax in sample form for years, too.

Sometimes those doctors - and yes, the drug reps who supply the samples often knowing that they're being given as regular supplies, and thus losing money on a "sale" - aren't as bad as they're painted.



posted on Aug, 12 2005 @ 10:49 PM
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I was born at night, but it wasn't last night.

The whole drug rep thing is a scam, the doctors are taking kickbacks in whatever form they can get them, and the drug lobby is making sure the junk stays on the market.

Most illnesses can be cured by proper diet, excercise, and environment. The best mechanism the human body has for healing is itself. Too many people think doctors and drugs can help them counteract their bad habits. Doctors, drug reps, and the drug lobby are only too happy to let them continue to believe this lie. The whole purpose of the charade is to sell drugs and unnecessary medical procedures.

Don't think for one second the drug companies would continue to supply all these free samples if they weren't literally making a killing off the deal. You guys are trying to make it all touchy-feely and altruistic when it isn't. Makes me wonder who you are working for. No offense.

Hey, the worms end up getting the best of most all of us eventually anyway, right? Why shouldn't the doctors and drug companies line their pockets at our expense along the way? Its good for the economy.


df1

posted on Aug, 12 2005 @ 11:55 PM
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I have no doubt that we have a healthcare conspiracy in the U.S. It consists of a an unholy arrangement between government (democrats & republicans), insurance companies, drug companies and corporate owned hospitals. The involvement of doctors and drug reps in this conspiracy merits nothing but a footnote.

The cost of drugs in the U.S. is higher than that of any other industrialized country because government programs prohibit negotiation of bulk drug purchases and government prohibits importing cheaper drugs from other countries. We have government price fixxing in Medicare, Medicaid and Champus for all drugs and procedures. The bureaucrats that run these government programs are culled from the healthcare industry.

Government drug oversite sucks because the FDA approves new drugs too easily while placing unnecessary restriction on herbal and other alternative remedies to protect the markets for these new drugs, considering the interests of the health care industry first and the interest of the patients last.

The cost of malpractice insurance has been driven through the ceiling by the insurance companies. The insurance companies have made medical billing so complex that a doctor does not have the time to treat patients and do his billing also. Additionally patient treatment is no longer determined by doctors, but rather dictated by insurance bureaucrats that have no health care background at all. The point of all this is to drive doctors out of private practice. And they have been largely successful, most doctors are employees of hospitals, HMOs or other health care conglomerates. The ones that are not soon will be employees.

Drug reps typically know nothing about medicine and will be selling used cars when this gig is done. They pretty much believe what they are told and most actually believe that they are doing good.

Attempting to pin the U.S. healthcare conspiracy on doctors and drug reps is the equivalent of police arresting jaywalkers while ignoring rapists and armed robbers. And if you believe doctors and drug reps are an important part of this conspiracy you most certainly were born lastnight.
.



posted on Aug, 13 2005 @ 06:15 AM
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Originally posted by Tinkleflower
Drugs are products for sale....and as such....

They have salespeople, and as with any product, there is much competition amongst the same types of products..

Believe it or not, drug reps are the bane of the lives of most doctors. Doctors don't want to waste time with drug reps.


Those statements are very true. My dad being a doctor for many long years now has seen many presentations on new medicines. In fact as I read this post I was squeezing a stress "ball" actually shaped like a realistic human heart; one of the many freebies inscribed with the logo or name of a new drug. I have been given an indescribeable amount of freebies from my dad in all these years. I even went to a medical tradeshow - where they were giving away sample drugs like tylenol by the handfull. (I got a high score in a game where I shot something in what I guess was a human intestine, very fun first person shooter!) Anyways my dad hates anything that distracts from patient interaction. He had to see 1 new patient every 15 minutes, in his old clinic, which he said made it impossible to really help anyone. (There are obviously more problems than just drug rep's) My dad just goes in and gets his free lunch and snags me some pens and human organ stress relievers and ducks out asap. Iv been there when the rep was there also. They basically just leave information packets and freebies on a table and sit in the lunch room waiting to talk to whoever comes to get a sandwich. Its kind of a "while your in here on break let me tell you about..." Not totally distracting from the doctors work, but it would be nice if the advertising campaign was limited to medical journals.


Originally posted by Icarus Rising Most illnesses can be cured by proper diet, excercise, and environment...Too many people think doctors and drugs can help them counteract their bad habits. Doctors, drug reps, and the drug lobby are only too happy to let them continue to believe this lie.


Your absoultely right on that first point. My dad does his best to practice preventitave medicine on his patients by asking them about their lifestyle and diet, also smoking/drinking habts. I belive most doctors care about helping people otherwise they could have been lawyers and spent their time hurting people. My dad also researches the drugs he recommends, and is aware of any potential problems that can result.

Drug reps are just car salesman types. Drug companies would certainly prefer people to pay to get healthy rather than use common sense to stay healthy. They are businessmen and the profits must equal the benefits of their drug. Like I alluded to above: I dont think its fair to go pointing the finger straight at the doctor when it comes the the business of medecine.

Also doctors are not filthy rich as some would have you think, even with all that drug money
I doubt rep's get paid much either. Its a hard job with all the industry crap, especially in the last 10 years, but someones got to do it.

We pay for the things that make us sick, then turn around and pay for the cures.



posted on Aug, 13 2005 @ 06:28 AM
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Originally posted by Icarus Rising

Most illnesses can be cured by proper diet, excercise, and environment. The best mechanism the human body has for healing is itself. Too many people think doctors and drugs can help them counteract their bad habits.


I don't think anyone is disputing these things....in fact, it's screamingly obvious that at the very least, the first and last sentences are completely, utterly and without doubt true.


Makes me wonder who you are working for. No offense.


None taken, but admittedly a small amount of eyerolling did take place. Is this what it comes down to? "If you even try to offer another point of view, you're obviously working For Them"? Since you kind of asked though...I have worked (past tense) for a drug manufacturer (as a data analyst), an independent research organisation (again as a data analyst) and finally with the class action team working for and with patients who had taken Pondimin and/or Redux (two of the phen-fen drugs). The drug industry isn't a stranger to me, and it's not lining my pockets either. Patient advocacy is more much important to me these days


As I stated previously...drugs are a business.

We'd be hopelessly naive to think that drug companies weren't in this for money, too...but bear in mind that what happens in the US doesn't happen automatically elsewhere in the world.

You want to know the bigger conspiracy?

Look into the appalling health insurance business in this country. That is a much bigger issue.



posted on Aug, 13 2005 @ 09:17 AM
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Doctors and drug reps are just the tip of the iceberg, obviously. To say they are unaware of or not involved in the situation with drug companies and drug lobbies is naive. Doctors are people too, you know. Not all are knights in shining armor coming to your emotional rescue.

As with any conspiracy or crime investigation, it is important to see the whole picture. Like in an illegal drug cartel, it goes from the users and the pushers all the way up to the kingpins and the moneymen. Everyone involved is guilty to some extent, and you have to start somewhere and follow the trail where ever it leads. What we have here is a legalized drug cartel operating with the blessing and cooperation of our government. Their main product is opiates, just like the illegal cartels.

This trail leads to the highest levels of government and industry. A massive fraudulent con-job is being perpetrated on the American people by the very institutions designed to protect us, and we are paying for it in dollars and deaths. You might be willing to glad-hand it and sweep it under the rug, but I am not. Analyze that data. No offense.

Boy, that was sure one long night.



posted on Aug, 13 2005 @ 01:43 PM
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Originally posted by Tinkleflower

Originally posted by df1

Originally posted by Tinkleflower
he'll receive "free samples" of several brands...


I know an elderly gentleman that can not afford the drugs he needs and his doctor has been giving him the samples he receives from the drug reps for going on 4 years now.
.


Yup. My exhusband's mother got her supplies of both Paxil and Fosemax in sample form for years, too.

Sometimes those doctors - and yes, the drug reps who supply the samples often knowing that they're being given as regular supplies, and thus losing money on a "sale" - aren't as bad as they're painted.



When we have uninsured patients that come into our pharmacy that cannot afford an name brand antibiotic (for example), we suggest they ask their PCP for a sample of it. That's what they are there for.



posted on Aug, 13 2005 @ 02:07 PM
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best way to benchmark doctors with their reps is to illegal drug dealers.

and everyone know how it goes. drug dealer gets his drugs from his boss (cartel, connect, etc..) gives new customers a free sample of his stuff. gets the customer hook and they come back for more.

and yes, they are times as previously posted before that the doctors give the free samples away without charging but imagine the amount of people who actually pay for it and how much money it's coming from that.

why aren't natural substances allowed to be labeled as a drug? why is the only prescription we get are manufactured drugs? money is the only reason i can grasp.

Canadians demanding more testing of natural remedies
www.cbc.ca...

it's quite odd how there isn't much testing of alternative methods to be label as drugs.

just my thoughts.



posted on Aug, 13 2005 @ 06:48 PM
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Originally posted by Conspicuouz
why aren't natural substances allowed to be labeled as a drug? why is the only prescription we get are manufactured drugs?


Money is a huge part of it, yes.

Production quality is another factor - can you guarantee the quality and potency of a batch of plant matter? I realise this is overly simplistic, but it's a point nonetheless.

When it comes to the "why aren't they labelled as a drug", there are several reasons.

One is simple legal technicalities; currently, herbals fall under the same FDA jurisdiction as food items; as such, they're not subject to the same tests or controls as are drugs (this might seem worrisome, in retrospect; your medicine cabinet is more tightly tested and controlled than the food in your refrigerator...).

Should the FDA have more control? There are two sides to this argument (both often discussed on these fair boards
).

Yes - because we should be allowed to have access to herbal supplements, and if they're regulated, that would help ensure consistency in potency and dosage; it would also reduce the risk of product contamination. Also, they would perhaps give much-needed validation to certain supplements.

No - because it's one more thing the government would be controlling; the prices would have to reflect the required clinical trials, and if they couldn't be proven to be safe and/or effective, they'd remain unavailable. If they were considered safe and effective, who gets the patent? The first company to apply for a brand name? Would that impede fair marketing rules? How about prescription versus OTC? How would that work?

It's not a simple matter, when we get down to it.

If you'd like to know more about trials involving drugs, the German E Monologues are a well-respected source of information; www.mdconsult.com used to enable a free trial period which would give you free legal access to the entire textbook, but it appears that they've changed the trial terms (unless I'm just missing that bit on their site - a possibility, it has to be said!).

However,

this site claims to have free software that includes some information from the German Monologues; I can't vouch for the veracity or reliability of the software, but it might be something to try anyway.

I'm still trying to find a legal way of accessing the textbook; I'll update as soon as I find anything



posted on Aug, 13 2005 @ 07:42 PM
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While in the Air Force in the late '70s-'80s I worked as a Medical Material Specialist. It is true that many Doc's get free samples and up to date info. from the Reps. but along with that goes many, many perks. I too have seen Rep. after Rep. go in the office while waiting in my opinion too damn long. I'm quite sure though I can't prove it but the big drug company's make it worth the doctors time and inflate his wallet to peddle his ware's. I mean the drugs.



posted on Aug, 13 2005 @ 08:03 PM
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I don't want to skirt the issue here, so we of course all know there are some natural substances that are labeled as drugs and criminalized to the point of incarceration though they have proven remedial properties yet are not legally available in any form. That said, money is not the issue to the people with the money, control is. Look at what the people with the money are doing. Follow the trail.

Who really knows what's in those little black wheeled boxcarts the drug reps run around with. Maybe they go in the doctors office full of drugs and come out full of cash (less the doctors cut, of course). Maybe they go in the doctors office full of drugs and cash and come out full of the good doctor's promises to deliver the desired volume of the drug in question. Maybe it is truly as banal as you are saying, full of brochures and coupons and 'free samples', the rep buying lunch and giving perks and making friends so the good doctor will look with favor on the almighty product.

I can't help doubting the latter. I'm old and jaded and screwed-over enough to know that the world just doesn't work that way anymore, if it ever did. Some THING is dreadfully wrong.



posted on Aug, 13 2005 @ 08:27 PM
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I'm a nurse who works for a pediatric clinic,,,the drug reps come and go. Sometimes it is a free lunch or pens and sticky pads...I have never seen wads of cash in their totes and yes, we give the samples to those who are underinsured or have no insurance at all.



posted on Aug, 13 2005 @ 09:08 PM
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Originally posted by Icarus Rising
Who really knows what's in those little black wheeled boxcarts the drug reps run around with.


Me? And probably several hundred other people who'd tell you "Man, if only it were nearly as exciting. It's the most boring occupation in the world".

Well, I can tell you what goes into the carts belonging to one or two specific drug companies. And what goes in and out of more than one or two physician's offices




Maybe they go in the doctors office full of drugs and come out full of cash (less the doctors cut, of course). Maybe they go in the doctors office full of drugs and cash and come out full of the good doctor's promises to deliver the desired volume of the drug in question.
.


Truthfully - are you going to believe someone who says "Yes, actually, it is as banal as that. It really is samples, brochures and a whole lot of boring stuff that gets trashed as soon as the rep is out of sight"?

I can't speak for every physician, or every drug rep.

But yes, generally, it really is that boring.

There's no grand conspiracy of cash/drugs exchange.



posted on Aug, 14 2005 @ 08:22 AM
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I certainly hope not.

It would be a monumental and unforgivable betrayal of patient-doctor trust, and we can't have that now, can we? There is already a growing suspicion out there about corporate profits driving doctor's decisions on patient care, and drug reps flouncing in and out of doctor's offices while people wait too long for often ineffective, pill-based care are indicative of the problem.

I have nothing against reps as individuals, just reservations about their role in the whole scam. They don't have to be delivering wads of cash and drugs to be part of the sell-out of American medicine. I challenge the entire medical establishment, which you seem to represent in this thread, Tinkleflower, to clean up their act, its getting way to obvious to one old country boy!



posted on Aug, 14 2005 @ 08:33 AM
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Originally posted by Icarus Rising
I have nothing against reps as individuals, just reservations about their role in the whole scam. They don't have to be delivering wads of cash and drugs to be part of the sell-out of American medicine.



Perhaps not, but that was part of your initial allegation. Do you, out of interest, perceive the medical product manufacturers from having different expectations in terms of selling their wares? You know that any salesmen is out to pursuade you to buy his product over that of his competitor. I'm just not sure if (or why) you expect drug makers to be any different?




I challenge the entire medical establishment, which you seem to represent in this thread, Tinkleflower, to clean up their act, its getting way to obvious to one old country boy!


I'm the first (well, second, after you) to concede that the "medical establishment" (which is a huge umbrella term, but we can ignore that) needs to shape up. That's not in dispute. (Though I'm not representing the entirety of any group, except perhaps the small and somewhat weary "Group of semi-professional folk who've worked for and against "the drug companies" and have garnered both a healthy cynicism and a desire to see improvements made where necessary").

But this doesn't mean everything is part of one big conspiracy.

It just doesn't.

Also, what about non-US companies? Doctors in Europe stand to gain even less by prescribing X over Y; are they exempt from the allegations?



posted on Aug, 14 2005 @ 08:49 AM
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I said "taking what amounts to payments", initially, not "wads of cash" until later. I had to get warmed up. Give you a chance to do some damage control.

I don't think you are part of the problem, and I know you are trying to represent the voice of reason in the face of my rants.

I, of interest, have already said that I just don't want doctor's decisions on care for their patients, especially me, being driven by salesmen and corporate profits, but by the common good instead. I think we agree on that.

I have had a lot of recent bad experience with corporate medicine. When I stopped taking opiates for my back pain, I had a lot of realizations of how the whole system works. You would probably call it 'Jane Pauley Syndrome' or unassisted withdrawal symptoms, but I call it a powerful epiphany which may have saved my life for the time being. That's where I'm coming from.



posted on Aug, 14 2005 @ 08:58 AM
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I completely, utterly understand and sympathise with you there; having been on narcotics for back pain too, I truly do know where you're coming from (I also nursed my then-husband through two disk surgeries; I've seen some very questionable tendencies involved in the entire arena).

I also agree that back pain is one area that's terribly mishandled by certain providers; it's too easy to throw Percocet at a patient than pursuade that patient to go for physiotherapy and/or other forms of treatment (assuming that more severe mechanical damage has been ruled out).

We both agree that there are changes to be made. And we'd both agree that ultimately, we want to see every healthcare provider acting for the best interests of the patient; to be fair, this also places some responsibility on the patient, too. Not all of it by any means - but we'd both be naive if we tried to deny the existence of those patients who make it difficult for a doctor not to prescribe narcotics for a bad headache, or antibiotics for the flu.

There is responsibility on all parties involved, absolutely.




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