Dr. Drug Rep tells all

We've seen the numbers and read the surveys. Now, we can hear the story straight from the horse's, er, doctor's mouth. An M.D. and former speaker-on-behalf-of-a-drug tells his story in the New York Times Magazine, and it's an illuminating, behind-the-scenes look at how Dr. Daniel Carlat (photo) became Dr. Drug Rep.

First, the reel-in: a flattering call from Wyeth, which wanted Dr. Carlat to spread the (good) word about Effexor XR, and an expense-paid trip to Manhattan for speakers' education. Second, the spiel: Soon, Dr. Carlat was delivering his talk all over the Boston area. Third, the prick of conscience: Lo and behold, Dr. Carlat realizes he's been spinning the data in Wyeth's favor. You'll have to read the article for the rest.

One interesting tidbit in the article was the fact that drug makers don't have access to doctors' prescribing histories without the help of the American Medical Association. Pharmacy data typically IDs the prescriber by DEA number. Only by buying a list from the AMA can data-mining companies link the prescriptions to the doctors' names--and then resell the info to pharma companies.

- check out the article from The New York Times

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