The Wall Street Journal has published a revealing story about one of the seamier sides of the drug industry's marketing campaigns: paying patients to offer testimonials about their drugs. As health industry observer Merrill Goozner explains, the story came to light because a "celebrity patient" had a "falling out with his corporate sponsor, Bristol-Myers Squibb. Andy Behrman is bipolar, and he earned $10,000 a day or $400,000 in total singing the praises of Abilify (aripiprizole, an atypical antipsychotic drug) to Bristol-Myers' drug salesmen and physician-consultants. Behrman's presentations worked off talking points provided by a public relations firm." He was supposed to tell people that the drug had no side effects and not to tell them that he was being paid by the company. "Behrman now claims he suffered serious side effects while on the drug," Goozner notes. He makes these and other charges in a new tell-all book. In response, the company says that he attempted to shake them down for a $7.5 million contract before turning against his former handlers.
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