Dr. Matt Hahn is agitated.
Hot under the collar.
him are fat.
Out of shape.
And drug reps keep bringing junk
food into his office.
Pizza with a ton of cheese.
Matt gripes about it.
He pushes back at the drug reps.
But they keep coming.
Junk food in hand.
A wave of junk.
Delivered by an army of drug reps.
And nothing can stop them.
Dr. Matt is a family doctor at the Tri-State
Community Health Center in Hancock, Maryland.
Notice the word "health."
Matt sits on the drug/prevention divide.
Of course, we need drugs to treat
But much of our illnesses are preventable.
Keep the drugs at bay.
Stay on the couch.
And drugs will
So, what is it with drug reps anyway?
They don't bring grapes and
apples as they travel the country.
They bring donuts and pizza.
be that they are seeking to induce illness so that they may sell more drugs?
is it just that their customer pool is so saturated that grapes don't cut it?
Grapes don't cut it.
Bring on the crap.
When he calls agitated, we know
what it's about.
What is it Dr. Matt?
You're not going to believe this.
No, sit down.
This one is special.
You are just
not going believe it.
Just tell us what you have.
He told us.
didn't believe it.
Until he brought over the evidence.
A box of Mini Belgian
Eclairs -- "filled to the brim with bavarian dairy cream and topped with chocolate
-- contains 50 Mini Eclairs -- 241 calories per serving."
And a box of Belgian
Mini Cream Puffs -- "filled to the brim with whipped vanilla dairy cream -- contains
70 Cream Puffs -- 305 calories per serving."
The boxes were empty -- the staff
at Tri-State Community "Health" Center had devoured them instantaneously.
brought these wonderful items in, Dr. Matt?
The drug rep from Novo Nordisk
-- the maker of insulin to treat diabetics.
Right there, on top of each container
-- "compliments of Novolog Mix70/30."
Belgian mini eclairs brought to you by
a Danish insulin company.
Now, Novo Nordisk is a leader in the field of diabetes
But they also project themselves as a company concerned about prevention.
As they say, "Novo Nordisk's aspiration is to defeat diabetes by finding better
methods of diabetes prevention, detection and treatment."
We sent this statement
to Dr. Matt.
Dr. Matt was besides himself.
"I doubt chocolate eclairs are
part of their prevention program," Dr. Matt said. "If they are, their program
is somewhat misguided. I would have to consider eating chocolate mini Belgian
eclairs a non- traditional type of prevention."
"Did this company possibly
find it ironic that they were handing out foods that worsened the very condition
that their medication treats?" Dr. Matt asks. "Is there anything beyond selling
The pharmaceutical industry spends $5.7 billion a year on marketing
directly to physicians -- that's $6,000 to $7,000 per doctor.
director of general internal medicine at the University of Vermont, says that
taking anything from drug companies violates a trust.
"They shouldn't be allowed
to offer gifts, and we shouldn't be allowed to accept them, and it's appalling
it's even an issue," Dr. Littenberg said recently.
Our guess is that most doctors,
like Dr. Matt, don't want the crap that drug companies air drop on their offices.
But the drug companies keep it coming.
And if Novo Nordisk was embarrassed
by their drug rep's eclair cream puff delivery, it wasn't saying.
spokesperson, Susan Jackson, said she couldn't comment.
is editor of the Washington, D.C.-based Corporate Crime Reporter.
Robert Weissman is editor of the Washington, D.C.-based Multinational Monitor.
Mokhiber and Weissman are co-authors of On
the Rampage: Corporate Predators and the Destruction of Democracy (Monroe,
Maine: Common Courage Press).
© 2005 Russell Mokhiber
and Robert Weissman