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April 17, 2005

PA pharmacist fined for Pfizer ties

Head Pa. Pharmacist Fined by Ethics Panel
April 15, 2005, 11:11 AM EDT

HARRISBURG, Pa. -- The state's top pharmacist repeatedly took money from a drug maker and other outside sources, violating ethics laws, a government panel found.

The State Ethics Commission fined Steven Fiorello more than $27,000 and referred the case to the state attorney general's office for possible criminal prosecution.

Looking back as far as 1998, the commission cited repeated conflicts between Fiorello's unofficial activities and his official duties at the Department of Public Welfare, which included serving on a panel that decides which medications may be given to patients at the nine state mental hospitals. The report also cited repeated failures to disclose his income from Pfizer Inc. and other outside sources.

This is really outrageous. Fiorello, a public official, accepted company money to present the results of a state-financed study:

In 1999, he teamed up with a Pfizer official on a state-financed study of antidepressants that showed Zoloft, a Pfizer product, to be among the least expensive drugs of that type, according to the commission. Fiorello later received two $1,000 payments from Pfizer to present the study's findings at company-sponsored conferences -- one of 20 violations the commission identified.

I hope this judgment has a chilling effect. The Fiorello case is just one instance of Big Pharma's attempts to manipulate public public officials.

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Comments

Don't you know pharmacists are allowed to follow their conscience now? If his conscience dictated that he had to take Big Pharma's money, who are you to judge?

ARRRGHHGHH!!! I am so fucking tired of hearing weekly about yet something more about the industry who's products are supposed to extend and better human life fucking us some more.

A few years back a pharmaceutical company was fined $500 million by congress for giving $100 to doctors for every prescription for their medications that they wrote.

Since that time they have refined their technique. I was researching a prescription drug that was recommended for my mother. I did a google search on it and quite inadvertently found myself inside of a secure area of a manufacturer's site.

They were offering special stock options to physicians and giving a prospectus on alzheimer drugs and research. What they couldn't do in the open they now do through the backdoor.

This in essence is vertical marketing and gives the doctor a cash incentive for becoming a "distributor" of their products.

They also have launched a new campaign in both houses of congress to prohibit vitamin formulations. They do this every ten years or so and they are at it again.

Flint:

Please tell me you reported it. This is an obvious kick-back and quite unnacceptable under the PHARMA code. This is also something that must be reported under financial disclosure requirements. I worked in the industry (clinical R & D) and it disgusts me when I find out the crap the commercial side is still trying to pull despite the fact laws have been enacted to bring them closer to the regulations under which we work than the bribapallooza atmosphere they used to work under. On the more selfish side, it also makes my job all that much harder when the physicians expect us to play by those lack of rules (really, drug development has become really big business for the doctors and way too many of them are complete pigs).

Sorry Ol Cranky, I didn't report it. I was researching Namenda and had been through tons of links. It was late and the page was clearly marked "duplication of this page is a Federal crime and any attempt to do so will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."

I left the site, but later decided I should try to trace the path and see if I could get back to it. It never came up again. I think that it was a glictch in their firewall that allowed google to get in. I'm not even sure which manufacturer it was... they talked about every drug on the market and the future of NGF stimulants.

I was interested in finding out about Namenda and wanted to see its actions and find some research data. Namenda is mentioned in just about all of the sites dealing with Alzheimers and motor neuron disorders.

At the time it didn't really sink in as to what I was looking at.

public public servants? As opposed to private public servants? Or public private servants? Or public private partnerships?

Was he presenting at the conference in his spare time? To me that matters, although it doesn't make it proper. If the company offers an honorarium for what the state already pays him to do--disseminate the results of state-funded scientific studies at scientific meetings--then I think the honorarium belongs to the state. Otherwise he's skimming off the top through privelege of position.

Or rather than "skimming funds" by privelege of position it would be more like "influence peddling," because I assume it's at his discretion where and how he disseminates the information it's his job to disseminate and he's letting a company influence his choice or choose for him for a fee.

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