Just Who’s Running Clinical Trials, Anyway?

John Mack just posted a very interesting look at "physicians with issues" (i.e. quacks) who are overseeing clinical trials and lecturing for  pharma "continuing medical education" programs.  He cites a recent New York Times article and offers a case in point: Dr. Faruk Abuzzahab, who has, apparently, been much sought after for clinical trials and "medical education" lectures (The Times article may already have put a stop to that). Unfortunately, Dr. A. has violated trial protocols in the past and has a history of prescription irregularities.  My favorite:  telling an addicted patient to think of the controlled substance being prescribed as "like Hamburger Helper."  Why have drug companies such as Takeda, Eisai and AstraZeneca hired him in the past?  And why, in Minnesota alone, have drug companies paid 103 physicians with state board citation issues $1.7 million for marketing activities?  Let's forget about being accountable to a "higher authority" and questions of morality and ethics, for a moment.  Given the huge risk to reputation, public relations and stock prices, why would any pharma company hire someone with such a background to handle anything as important as a clinical trial? And why would they invite guilt by association and hire them to speak at marketing events? Selection (for lectures at least) is keyed to the number of prescriptions for the given drug that the doctor is expected to write.  With the scrutiny now being given to pharma marketing, these practices can't go on much longer.  Can they?  But here's more from the source: Pharma Marketing Blog.