Friday, September 18, 2009

Except for the Helicopter, Pfizer Got This "Top Gun" MD at a Discounted Rate

According to a law suit filed by by Mark R. Westlock - who was a Pfizer sales rep from 1991 to 2007 - Dr. Neil S. Kaye, an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Jefferson Medical College, "was known to Pfizer sales representatives as a 'big gun'" (see "Pfizer Paid for Doc's Helicopter in Off-Label Geodon Push").

In his whistleblower law suit, which was part of the $2.3 billion Bextra settlement, Westlock claimed that Pfizer "conspired with Dr. Kaye as early as 2001 to begin a nationwide Geodon® promotional campaign at locations across the United States. In exchange for promoting Geodon® off-label, Defendant Dr. Kaye was paid up to $4,000 per day plus all his expenses. Defendant Dr. Kaye became such a frequent speaker that he used his own private helicopter to fly to various locations throughout the United States, all at Pfizer's expense." Dr. Kaye gave these presentations at clinics, hotels, restaurants, physician offices and mental health facilities all across the country.

I visited Dr. Kaye's Web site where he blatantly presents his "hired gun" contract, including prices, for the whole world to see (see here; click prices). Even Peter Rost, the notorious whislteblower and professional witness against pharma, does not display his price sheet.

On the left is what I imagine Dr. Kaye's contract with Pfizer looked like (click the image for an enlarged view).

I assume Dr. Kaye's speaker fees are equivalent to his per diem testimony in court fees. Usually, Dr. Kaye charges $5,000 per day to testify outside of Delaware. This does not include expenses like helicopters.

Although Westlock claims "the amounts of money being paid to Defendant Dr. Kaye were considerably more than Pfizer normally paid for such 'thought leader' presentations," it seems that Pfizer got a 20% discount off Dr. Kaye's $5,000 per diem fee.

However, Dr. Kaye's helicopter expenses probably exceeded the $1,000 saved on the per diem fee. I know that when I use my car to visit clients, I charge about $0.33 per mile or whatever the IRS allows for that expense. I wonder how much per helicopter mile Dr. Kaye charges? I'm sure it's a lot more than $0.33.

Hat Tip to Jim Edwards for turning me on to this.

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