David Drew Pinsky, better known as “Dr. Drew” is a very recognized physician, who specializes in addiction, putting his abilities to work, helping people recognize, and overcome their substance abuse. As well as hosting his talk shows, Dr. Drew on HLN, and the daytime series Lifechangers on the CW network, he stars on other programs including, VH1’s Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew, and its spinoffs, Sex Rehab with Dr. Drew, and Celebrity Rehab Presents Sober House. He has truly done amazing work, helping to change the lives of individuals, but just recently, Dr. Drew and the drug company, GlaxoSmithKline has become the Federal Reserve’s target for fraud.
The case being made by the Feds against Dr. Pinsky is that he accepted $275,000 from GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) in 1999 to hype up the commonly known drug, Wellbutrin SR on his talk radio show, Loveline. GSK has pleaded guilty to multiple misdemeanor criminal charges of healthcare fraud, paying up to $3 billion dollars. On his programs, Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew, and Sober House, Dr. Drew reportedly also glorified the drug, saying that it could increase sex drive in depressed patients, which the FDA never approved or advertised.
Beyond the incident involving Dr. Drew, GSK also allegedly persuaded doctors and various healthcare professionals to encourage their patients to take Wellbutrin SR in order to treat drug addiction, weight loss, and ADHD; again this was never approved by the FDA. The pot was sweetened for several of the specialists, many being compensated – a kickback of sorts. The company was also found culpable for creating unconfirmed claims concerning the safety and efficiency of two of their medications, Avandia, for diabetes, and Advair, for asthma. Furthermore, GSK openly admitted responsibility for supporting the use of their anti-depressant drug, Paxil, in treating young children, which was on no account approved for individuals under the age of eighteen.
Carmin Ortiz, the United States Attorney for the District of Massachusetts, one of the major players presiding over the case against GSK stated that “The GSK sales force bribed physicians to prescribe GSK products using every imaginable form of high priced entertainment, from Hawaiian vacations to paying doctors millions of dollars to go on speaking tours, to a European pheasant hunt, to tickets to Madonna concerts.” It would be very hard for a doctor, even of the highest prestige, to turn down such benefits, just by promoting a drug that is known, widely, by doctors everywhere. Employees for GSK who were aware of the scheme but had no intension of emitting any knowledge about the terms were penalized, or given a leave of absence. The $3 billion settlement has been the biggest in U.S. history, hoping to persuade the minds of other drug companies to refrain from acting like this in the future.
“Dr. Drew paid to talk up antidepressant drug Wellbutrin SR? Feds make case in $3 billion GlaxoSmithKline settlement for fraud.” Celeste Katz Daily Politics. Lindsay Goldwert. 3 July 2012. Web. 5 July 2012.
Filed under: Alcohol and Drugs, Celebrity, Featured · Tags: $3 billion settlement, ADHD, Advair, Alcohol and Drugs, anti-depressants, Avandia, Carmin Ortiz, Celebrity Rehab with Dr Drew, David Drew Pinsky, Dr Drew, drug addiction, drug companies, FDA, Federal Reserve, Feds, fraud, fraud case, GlaxoSmithKline, Lifechangers, medication, patients, Paxil, Pharmaceutical companies, prescription medication, substance abuse, VH1, Wellbutrin SR