Big bucks and lavish gifts -- building relationships the Big Pharma way

Pharmalot reports a growing scandal in Australia. It seems that drug companies have been wooing health department workers with gifts and meals.

But “wooing” isn’t quite the word drug companies would use.

A GlaxoSmithKline representative explained to an Australian newspaper that the perks weren’t given as an incentive to prescribe drugs. GSK was simply “building close relationships.”

GSK, by the way, is the first company to come forward and reveal the amount spent on relationship-building in Australia: a whopping $2 million.

I’m sorry…did I say “whopping”? I meant to say “paltry”.

Last year, GSK spent more than $96 million on gifts, speaking fees, meals, etc., in the U.S. And in at least a dozen individual states the company devoted more than $2 million each.

Here’s a thought for GSK: Try Facebook or twitter. Those are fun ways to build relationships, and they’re free.

“What Glaxo Gave to Doctors Down Under” Ed Silverman, Pharmalot, 6/7/11,

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