Does your doctor’s “M.D.” stand for “Marketing Director”?

How Much is Your Doctor Being Paid and Manipulated by the Drug Companies?


Posted By Dr. Mercola | December 17 2010



About $282 million was paid to doctors by drug companies last year. Is this compromising the care you are receiving?

Many people are still completely unaware of the many ways in which they are being manipulated into taking dangerous and unnecessary drugs.

There’s the $5 billion direct-to-consumer marketing, of course, which is rather obvious. But physicians also play a major role, and the manipulation that takes place on this level is more obscure.

Drug reps often give ‘gifts’ to convince doctors to prescribe the medications that they represent. These drug reps usually have no medical or science education. Instead, they’re armed with some of the most potent brainwashing techniques used throughout the world, which I’ll discuss in a moment.

Perhaps the manipulation technique most difficult to detect is the ‘education’ given by doctors, to doctors.

Here, it’s very easy to forget that the doctor presenting the material is working entirely on the drug company’s behalf, and not as an independent, well-educated, appropriate source of objective information.

And then there’s the insidious Drug Industry sponsored “education” that takes place in medical schools across the US.

For example, out of Harvard’s 8,900 professors and lecturers, 1,600 admit that they or a family member have ties to drug companies that could bias their teaching or research. In 2008 alone the pharmaceutical industry contributed more than $11.5 million to Harvard for “research and continuing education classes.”

All of these tactics (and others) are employed on a massive scale in the name of “education,” but nothing could be further from the truth.

Is Your Doctor Paid to Promote a Drug?

Chances are your doctor has fallen prey to pharmaceutical marketing tactics. Most doctors simply do not have the time to research each drug, and rely heavily on information from their pharmaceutical reps and from other ‘experts,’ i.e. doctors who are receiving significant fees to talk about drug treatments.

Pharmaceutical sales reached a staggering $300 BILLION last year, up five percent from 2008. It’s no secret that the industry spends big bucks on direct-to-consumer advertising, but just how much do they spend on marketing to doctors?


According to a new database created by ProPublica, seven drug companies paid $282 million to more than 17,000 doctors during 2009-2010.

The drug companies included in the database are:

  1. Cephalon
  2. Johnson&Johnson
  3. Merck
  4. Pfizer
  5. GlaxoSmithKline
  6. AstraZeneca
  7. Eli Lilly

Bear in mind that these seven represent just a small portion of the drug industry as a whole!

In 2006, the pharmaceutical industry spent an estimated $16 BILLION on physician advertising. At the time, that amounted to $10,000 for every doctor in the US.

How Does Drug Industry “Education” Help Protect and Improve Your Health?

The drug industry insists these payments are for “education,” and improve patient care by keeping doctors up-to-date. However, I agree with those who call it bribery as it most definitely influences doctors’ prescribing habits, which can have a seriously detrimental impact on their patients’ health.

After all, prescription drugs are responsible for an estimated 700,000 ER visits a year due to adverse drug reactions. And adverse drug reactions from drugs that are properly prescribed and properly administered cause about 106,000 deaths per year, making prescription drugs the fourth-leading cause of death in the U.S.

The truth is prescription drugs kill more than twice as many Americans as HIV/AIDS or suicide. Fewer die from accidents or diabetes than adverse drug reactions.

In light of those statistics, if all this money is spent to educate and improve patient care, how well is that working, you think?

These payments are entirely legal, and drug companies are not even required to disclose who they pay or how much. According to ProPublica, all but two of the seven companies included in their database were forced to divulge this information as part of settlements and lawsuits.

This will all change in 2013 under the new health care law, however.

Just How Much are Doctors Paid to Promote Drugs?

As discussed in the CNN video above, payments received by individual doctors ranged from $100 to $300,000 since 2009.

  • 384 doctors received payments greater than $100,000, of which
  • 43 doctors received more than $200,000 each

As mentioned earlier, these numbers represent payments from just seven drug companies!

The industry claims it’s worth every penny, which only proves that these tactics most definitely increase drug sales, by influencing physicians to change their prescription habits.

But exactly how do they do it?

What makes otherwise well educated, intelligent doctors turn their backs on their Hippocratic Oath (to do no harm) and do the complete opposite by prescribing unnecessary and potentially dangerous drugs?

Potent Brainwashing Techniques Applied

Unbeknown to many doctors, drug companies use some of the most potent brainwashing techniques in the world, including extensive detailing of their personality in order for each encounter to be specifically tailored for maximum effect.

Even those who suspect they may be subject to some manipulation are mostly unaware of just how extensive and detailed the drug companies’ profiling of them is.

Not only are reps trained to assess their personality, practice style, and medical preferences, they’re also instructed to sniff out personal information, like the names of family members, birthdays, and family interests — as well as the physician’s professional interests and recreational pursuits.

All of this information goes into a database for future reference. When the time comes to devise an “incentive” — say a dinner, sporting event, or membership — it is custom tailored to suit the prey. It’s all about establishing personal rapport. Oftentimes doctors mistake the reps’ cleverly disguised interest in them as personal friendship.

This is exactly how it’s designed to work!

The database also reveals how many of a doctor’s patients receive specific drugs, how many competing drugs are prescribed compared with the target drug, and how the physician’s prescribing habits change over time.

It tells them if a drug is “in favor” with a particular doctor or not, and gives them the tools to cook up a winning strategy for future manipulations.

Truly, the idea that pharmaceutical reps provide some kind of valuable, informative service to physicians is total fiction, created and perpetuated by the drug industry, to keep this deadly, but profitable, scheme going.

Unwieldy Doctors Get the Big Hammer…

Any doctor who has the good sense and integrity to question the information they receive and do their own homework can easily end up on the drug industry’s Blacklist.

For example, last year it was discovered that drug giant Merck had a hit list of doctors to be “neutralized” or discredited because they were speaking out against the painkiller Vioxx.

It just goes to show that when persuasion tactics don’t work, the drug cartel will not hesitate to ramp up the ante against dissenting doctors.

Time to Lift the Veil…

It’s quite clear that both doctors and the public at large are being manipulated for the sake of corporate profits. The pharmaceutical industry is not really about promoting health, but making money off disease. And when one market begins to dwindle, they simply create a new one, by inventing yet another disease. Usually by “upgrading” a common symptom into disease status…

But you don’t have to fall victim to these tactics. All that is needed is to see them for what they are: manipulative marketing strategies.

Folks, you CAN Take Control of Your Health. You don’t have to put up with this kind of insanity any longer. By educating yourself on the tactics employed, you can learn to see right through the propaganda, and stop being deceived by drug company lies and deceptions.

Then, tell your family, friends and neighbors, and be a source of true education.

Collectively we can stop this unwise and foolish expenditure of resources on treatments that do not work, or worse, are completely unnecessary and cause further harm. It is a massive David vs. Goliath battle, but there is no doubt in my mind that the victory will eventually be ours.

How to Survive in a Disease-Promoting Paradigm

Remember, there are a number of basic strategies you can use to avoid getting sucked into the current disease-care paradigm. Here’s a summary of my top 10 Healthful Lifestyle Strategies:

  1. Eat a healthy diet that’s right for your nutritional type (paying very careful attention to keeping your insulin levels down)
  2. Drink plenty of clean water
  3. Manage your stress
  4. Exercise regularly
  5. Experience healthy doses of sunlight
  6. Limit toxin exposure
  7. Consume healthy fat
  8. Eat plenty of raw food
  9. Optimize insulin and leptin levels
  10. Get plenty of sleep




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