Dr. Drew Pinsky – well-known as TV and radio host “Dr. Drew” – is dealing with criticism after court records revealed that he took $275,000 from GlaxoSmithKline for “services for Wellbutrin.”
GlaxoSmithKline recently agreed to a $3 billion settlement — the largest ever involving a pharmaceutical company – over the federal government’s charges that the company illegally marketed some of its medications.
Prosecutors allege that the British pharmaceutical giant’s tactics included paying doctors to prescribe its medications.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Pinsky promoted Wellbutrin on his radio sex-advice show “Loveline”, telling listeners he prescribes it and other medications to depressed patients because it “may enhance or at least not suppress sexual arousal” as much as other antidepressants do.
That isn’t the only legal controversy involving GlaxoSmithKline antidepressants. A number of studies have linked antidepressants classified as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs, with potentially dangerous heart and lung defects in newborns.
Pinsky’s Wellbutrin payments, made by a communications firm working for GlaxoSmithKline, were revealed in an attachment to a complaint the U.S. government filed in October 2011 in federal court, disclosed during the announcement of the settlement.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Pinsky said the following in an emailed statement: “In the late ’90s I was hired to participate in a two-year initiative discussing intimacy and depression which was funded by an educational grant by Glaxo Wellcome,” one of the companies that later merged to form GlaxoSmithKline. He added that the campaign “included town hall meetings, writings and multimedia activities in conjunction with [a] patient advocacy group … My comments were consistent with my clinical experience.”
Patients should consult their doctors before making any changes in their medication. A consultation with an SSRI lawyer is also important if there are significant injuries from SSRIs.
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