Feds Say Dr. Drew Was Paid to Promote Antidepressant

Thursday, 05 Jul 2012 07:50 PM

 

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Dr. Drew Pinsky has come under fire for helping to market an antidepressant for uses not approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

A Boston judge on Thursday approved a record $3 billion guilty plea by British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline, which paid the "Celebrity Rehab" doctor - known as Dr. Drew - $275,000 to tout Wellbutrin, approved by the FDA to treat depression, as a drug to treat other conditions including obesity, addictions and sexual dysfunction.

At one point, Pinsky, then hosting sex and romance radio program "Loveline," told a woman that ingredients in the drug explained her having 60 orgasms in one night, a by-the-books talking point from Glaxo in what the federal government called its "nationwide scheme" to market the drug for alternative uses.

In a statement to Forbes, Pinsky defended his comments about the drug, claiming they were in line with his clinical observations of its side effects.

"In the late 90s I was hired to participate in a 2 year initiative discussing intimacy and depression which was funded by an educational grant by Glaxo Wellcome," he wrote in the e-mailed statement. "Services for the non branded campaign included town hall meetings, writings and multimedia activities in conjunction with the patient advocacy group the National Depressive and Manic Depressive Association. My comments were consistent with my clinical experience."

But the Justice Department's complaint against Glaxo alleged that Pinsky highlighted the drug's libido-enhancing effects without revealing that he was a paid spokesman.

It is unclear whether Pinsky will face any legal issues.

Neither Pinsky nor Glaxo responded to emails and calls from TheWrap for comment.

© 2014 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

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