“We’d pay doctor’s between $2-4000 to give a talk to other doctor’s.
“6 or 7 doctors would be invited out for dinner, sometimes with their spouses in tow, they’d be wined and dined and then the speaker would talk about the wonders of drug a or b, of course these were off-label “wonders” – that’s how Glaxo rolled.
“Our marketing team would send them a slide-show and a carefully scripted narrative so they could convince other doctor’s that it was okay to prescribe a number of drugs off-label.
“Some doctor’s, whose basic annual salary was around $150,000, could give 2 or 3 talks in a week, giving them a potential to earn up to an extra $12,000 per week.
“I was also given luxury private box tickets for sporting events, these would be given to doctors as a ‘thank-you’ or incentive to prescribe more and more of Glaxo’s drugs.”
“The way it worked was that a doctor would be visited by a rep who would then add notes to a hand-held device.
“It was useful because we knew what these doctor’s liked, be it a particular football, baseball team or if he had a sweet tooth – on the next visit we would bring in a small token of gesture, be it tickets to the game or sweet tasting delicacies – it was just a way to keep them prescribing more drugs.”
Blair recalled a meeting where reps were told to be careful what they wrote in the call-notes, the crux of the meeting was basically to tell reps to “write right”, in other words write down the legal stuff and not the violations.
“The whole transparency thing wasn’t a conscious decision by Glaxo, their hand was forced, it was all part of the settlement – it makes me laugh when I now read how they are claiming to offer up the results of their clinical trials, they were told that’s what they had to do as part of the agreement they entered into with the Department of Justice.”
I once had dinner with Blair.