Trending
MOST READ
8 Cultural Gems on the North Side

8 Cultural Gems on the North Side

City Guide 2014: “Outside the Loop” is used as a pejorative by Downtown-centric cool kids, but oases of culture can be found in the sprawling suburbs of the North Side.... By Dan R. Goddard 2/24/2014
4 Downtown Dive Bars to Embarrass Yourself In

4 Downtown Dive Bars to Embarrass Yourself In

City Guide 2014: In the last few years, San Antonio has made great strides when it comes to its mixology doings. Many good (and some great!) cocktail bars have been springing... By Tim Hennessey 2/24/2014
Beaches Be Trippin\': Five Texas Coast Spots Worth the Drive

Beaches Be Trippin': Five Texas Coast Spots Worth the Drive

Arts & Culture: Let’s face it, most of us Lone Stars view the Texas coast as a poor man’s Waikiki. Hell, maybe just a poor man’s Panama Beach — only to be used... By Callie Enlow 7/10/2013
Best Happy Hour

Best Happy Hour

Best of SA 2013: 4/24/2013
Chris Pérez, Selena’s Husband, Faces His Past and Looks Forward, Musically

Chris Pérez, Selena’s Husband, Faces His Past and Looks Forward, Musically

Music: Chris Pérez never saw it coming. “All I ever wanted to do was play guitar,” he told the Current. “I never thought I’d be the subject of an interview... By Enrique Lopetegui 8/28/2013
Calendar

Search hundreds of restaurants in our database.

Search hundreds of clubs in our database.

Follow us on Instagram @sacurrent

Print Email

News

sa_20130410_cover

Cover 04/10/2013

Big Pharma's Troubling History of Pushing Drugs on Foster Kids

Photo: , License: N/A


Meanwhile, Pfizer continued to pay doctors to market Geodon beyond its FDA-approved uses.

Alex Booker, a sales representative out of Pfizer’s Missouri office, blew the whistle after he was fired for complaining about the pervasive off-label marketing. In court documents, he claimed Pfizer told sales teams to target child psychiatrists with a high number of Medicaid patients — one document filed in court shows Pfizer’s “Medicaid Pull-Through” strategy, listing some two dozen child psychiatrists in the St. Louis area Pfizer hoped would someday write Geodon prescriptions.

Other court filings show that sales reps encouraged Texas Medicaid doctors to boost Geodon doses to up to 360 milligrams per day; the drug was only approved for doses of 160 milligrams, therefore prescriptions over that amount would count as two prescriptions, a quick, easy way for sales reps to exceed quotas and start earning bonuses.

Pfizer, according to the lawsuit, would even go so far as to put undercover sales reps in continuing education seminars. The “plant” would ensure that the group got Pfizer-paid speakers to discuss off-label prescriptions for children.

Booker complained to Pfizer’s compliance hotline in October 2009, claiming, among other problems, that Pfizer urged sales reps to manipulate or conceal Geodon’s safety profile. Hearing nothing back, on January 5, 2010, he followed up with an email to corporate compliance.

Pfizer fired him the next day.

Brant Mittler sought similar records in the local lawsuit against Pfizer. By early this year, all defendants had settled except for the drug manufacturer. For months, Pfizer fought the release of those records, including marketing materials and internal communications between regional and local sales staff.

When earlier this year it appeared Bexar County Probate Court Judge Polly Jackson Spencer might force Pfizer to produce, the company started to talk settlement.

Dr. Joseph Hernandez, Jo Angel’s Rodriguez’s admitting doctor at Laurel Ridge, said the use of Geodon became a bright red flag almost immediately after Rodriguez died, according to deposition testimony lawyers filed in court.

Hernandez said he spoke to Dr. Benigno Fernandez, Laurel Ridge’s medical director, wanting to know why the Geodon was given, why he was never called when the girl’s condition worsened, and why it took so long to transfer Rodriguez to the emergency room when she crashed.

When he spoke to Dr. Lindy Bankes, who ordered the drug, “she was obviously upset,” Hernandez recalled. “She was asking me questions about Geodon.”

According to Bankes’ deposition, the Texas Medical Board notified her someone lodged a complaint against her due to the incident — such complaints are confidential, so there’s no telling who filed it. Despite Hernandez’s obvious concerns with the handling of the case, Fernandez and one of Bankes’ trainers from UTHSC wrote letters to the TMB trying to absolve her of any blame, Bankes testified.

Recently in News
We welcome user discussion on our site, under the following guidelines:

To comment you must first create a profile and sign-in with a verified DISQUS account or social network ID. Sign up here.

Comments in violation of the rules will be denied, and repeat violators will be banned. Please help police the community by flagging offensive comments for our moderators to review. By posting a comment, you agree to our full terms and conditions. Click here to read terms and conditions.
comments powered by Disqus