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Malpractice Meets Prescription Peddling

By Rheingold Giuffra Ruffo Plotkin & Hellman LLP

Advice is often sought from the wise. But advice is also often trusted and credibility quickly earned when someone with an official, prestigious title gives it.

This is the danger of a reported trend in Florida that finds Doctors with questionable backgrounds working for drug companies and negligently recommending certain drugs to their professional peers.

A recent study discovered not just one case, not just two, but several cases of once board-reprimanded doctors playing significant roles advertising for drug companies.

Pharmaceutical representatives have been largely replaced by medical professionals because they proved less effective at selling drugs. This transition makes sense since buyers find comfort in the fact that the seller of a product has experience and noted success with the peddled product.

What is confusing and worrisome, however, is the dubious history of certain Florida doctors who are making money marketing prescriptions:

  • Dr. Tod Fusia is the primary surgeon for a urology practice in Tampa. His professional mishaps resulted in two patient deaths and three medical malpractice settlements.
  • Dr. Charles C. Greene of Jacksonville has been investigated and reprimanded by the board. After botching a sinus surgery in 2002 wherein his errors caused his patient brain damage, he was charged with malpractice and settled the lawsuit for $500,000.

The above cases of Dr. Fusia and Greene are only two examples of a handful of similar Florida incidents.

But why are these doctors chosen to market medical products in the first place? Drug companies reportedly choose their doctors/sales reps based on their speaking and presentation skills and on the status of their practice.

Apparently, then, malpractice issues in practices’ histories do not deem their doctors unfit to market drugs in the field. Of course, that view is in the eyes of drug companies. What would perhaps mitigate this controversy would be if the medical professionals buying drugs knew of the peddling doctors’ backgrounds so they could make more informed decisions about the prescriptions they write.

Facing medical malpractice charges is a rare occurrence for medical professionals, with less than half of 1 percent of doctors ever facing such charges. The number of charged doctors marketing prescriptions in Florida certainly rouses questions, and not only for Florida patients but for patients throughout the country.

Who represents drug companies in your state, and is your doctor prescribing you drugs in the most informed and ethical manner?

If you are a victim of medical malpractice or want to report negligent practices, contact a personal injury attorney in your area. A lawyer will evaluate your case and best guide you towards the next legal step.

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