The federal government recently reached an agreement with pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline in which the drug maker will plead guilty to misdemeanor fraud charges and pay $3 billion in civil damages for taking part in some shady reporting and marketing practices over an extended period of time. Among the charges, the government said that Glaxo failed to report drug-safety information to the FDA, and that it threw money and expensive vacation packages at doctors to promote their drugs for uses outside what the FDA had approved. One of the doctors listed in the complaint is Celebrity Rehab and Loveline host Dr. Drew, who went on Loveline and talked up the off-label positive sexual effects of the Glaxo anti-depressant Wellbutrin two months after receiving $275,000 from the company for “services for Wellbutrin.” Ruh roh.
Dr. Drew responded to the claims through a publicist, saying that his relationship with GlaxoSmithKline was part of an educational grant to research depression and intimacy, and that his comments were “consistent with his clinical experience,” but even if that is all true this still stinks like old seafood. All you have to do is preface your comments with, “Full disclosure, I have a financially beneficial relationship with the makers of this drug,” and then you can say whatever you want. I mean, sure, you might look like a totally corrupt hack who sold out his morals for a fat paycheck, but at least you won’t look like a totally corrupt hack who sold out his morals for a fat paycheck and is hiding the fact that he is a totally corrupt hack who sold out his morals for a fat paycheck. The lesser of two totally corrupt evils, if you will.
Between the recent uproar over Adam Carolla’s comments about women in comedy, and now this news about Dr. Drew, it’s not been a particularly great last few weeks for people associated with Loveline. If I’m Diane Farr, I’m keeping my head down until 2013.
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