I used to work for a company that managed that speaker bureau program. We paid out those “honorariums” to speakers to go around and tell other doctors to prescribe… We would pay them up to $3200 for an hour’s worth of work. These doctors got to think they were rock stars. They would go around thinking they were so cool. …They were making a living talking to other doctors. The only thing bigger than their heads was their wallets. They were so egotistical and so rich from it.
Are you kidding me? They LOVED it! They would tack on these speeches onto a vacation. They would go off and have dinner, lunch or breakfast with other doctors, and then get the hotel paid for, and get their airfare paid, and they would pick a couple of days extra and just go on vacation!
Absolutely… I’m sure all the listeners right now are shocked by all this. This was everyday obvious for us. I knew it was wrong in my heart and my soul, I knew this was wrong which is why I had to get out of it. It was so blatantly obvious what was going on but everybody just like sheep kept walking toward the edge of the cliff, just kept doing it, just didn’t care, the doctors wanted the money, the reps were getting money, the more prescriptions that they got the better their sales were, the more kickbacks they got. Everybody was complicit, it was not a big secret. Everybody knew what they were doing.
It was doctors for each and every single drug. For instance, Sanofi Aventis had their overall list of speakers, and then each individual drug had their speakers. It had to be thousands…
…they could very easily, sometimes they would make $1500 – $1800 for an hour, a visit, a lunch, breakfast or dinner, but they could go do a breakfast, and then a lunch and then a dinner, stack it up and then they were racking up five or six grand a day. …There were so many little things they could get reimbursed for. Dry cleaning, meals at the airport. Anything that was incidental to the trip they got picked up, too.Yes, I would recruit the doctors based on the pharmaceutical reps’ suggestions. So they might find a doctor who they thought was “in on the deal” so they would submit their paperwork to get this doctor signed up to be on the speakers bureau, and then I would just physically coordinate the meetings and cut the checks. I would set up to get the speaker’s airfare, hotel, and get him the slide presentations, everything he needed to go to this meeting. I would set up the on-site meeting, it might be a meeting that had 50 to 60 people, or it might be just one doctor. There are times the doctor would get paid two grand to talk to one guy!
I think as you said, don’t let them use your body, and don’t let them use your mind either. I was just a young kid doing this job, and I just needed the money, and as I got deeper and deeper into it, I knew it was wrong. I was unhappy every day. I just felt bad and icky in my soul, so I got out. I started my own business completely unrelated to pharmaceuticals, and I started following my own passion and my own heart.Here in the Midwest it’s the secret that everybody knows but nobody talks about. Everybody knows the dice are loaded, and it’s time to start talking out about it. It’s time to start making life changes. Thank you for letting me talk. I hope that the information has been helpful to you guys.