Wednesday, August 24, 2011

AstraZeneca's elite sales force: doctors, institutions, research organizations and politicians

Merkel state dinner photo via L.A. Times, link below

AstraZeneca has posted the Q1 (first quarter) financial report for 2011. The report includes payments to physicians, institutions (Harvard (Mass General), Yale, etc) research organizations and political campaign contributions.

It's quite apparent that funding of doctors and politicians has a lucrative pay off for the pharmaceutical company, once you take a look at the reports, you can see how intertwined the business world, political world and pharmaceutical world are...the force behind the machine is massive. The sales of the billion dollar blockbuster antipsychotic is prime example of an elite and influential sales force in action. The sales force isn't what you expect, when considering the report is not a database of pharmaceutical sales representatives, instead it's a sales force of KOLs (Key Opinion Leaders), doctors and political campaigns where AstraZeneca pays the best of the best in their eyes, because they promote their agenda and products in various ways.

The AstraZeneca Q1 payments are example of the strong foothold pharmaceutical companies have in America's fabric, intricately woven and delicate, America appears to be a corporate funded country, which is highly influenced by corporations such as AstraZeneca. Americans on average probably have no idea just how influential the company is, but when you take a look at the payment reports, it becomes crystal clear. The word stakeholder comes to mind.

AstraZeneca's political contributions Q1 2011

CA Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D) Lofgren for Congress $1,000
CA Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R) Kevin McCarthy for Congress $5,000
DC Moderate Democrats PAC $5,000
Pharmaceutical Research & Manufacturers of America Better
Government Committee $5,000
New Democrat Coalition Political Action Committee AKA NDC
PAC $5,000
DC Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee $15,000
DC National Republican Senatorial Committee $15,000
DC Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee $15,000
DC National Republican Congressional Committee $15,000
DE Rep. John Charles Carney, Jr. (D) John Carney for Congress $5,000
DE Sen. Thomas Richard Carper (D) Carper for Senate $5,000
GA Rep. John Phillip Gingrey (R) Gingrey for Congress $1,000
GA Sen. Johnny Isakson (R) 21st Century Majority Fund $2,500
MA Sen. Scott Philip Brown (R) Scott Brown for US Senate Committee $2,500
MD Rep. Steny H. Hoyer (D) Hoyer for Congress $5,000
MI Rep. Sander M. Levin (D) Levin for Congress $1,000
MI Rep. Mike Rogers (R) Rogers for Congress $2,000
MT Rep. Dennis Rehberg (R) Rehberg for Congress $1,000
NE Sen. E. Benjamin Nelson (D) Nelson 2012 $1,000
NE Sen. E. Benjamin Nelson (D) Nelson 2012 $2,000
NJ Rep. Leonard Lance (R) Lance for Congress $1,000
OH Rep. Lynn R. Wachtmann (R) Committee to Elect Lynn Wachtmann $250
OH Rep. Barbara Boyd (D) FRIENDS OF BARBARA BOYD $500
OH Rep. John A. Boehner (R) The Freedom Project $5,000
OH TFP - FOJB Committee $5,000
OR Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D) Blumenauer for Congress $1,000
OR Rep. Greg P. Walden (R) Walden for Congress $2,000
OR Rep. Kurt Schrader (D) Kurt Schrader for Congress $5,000
PA Rep. Timothy F. Murphy (R) Tim Murphy for Congress $1,000
PA Sen. Robert P. Casey, Jr (D) Bob Casey for Senate Inc. $1,000
PA Rep. Jason Altmire (D) Citizens for Altmire $5,000
SC Rep. James E. Clyburn (D)
Building Relationships in Diverse Geographic Environments PAC
(BRIDGE PAC) $5,000
TX Rep. Lamar Seeligson Smith (R) Texans for Lamar Smith $1,000
TX Hon. David Dewhurst (R) David Dewhurst Campaign $5,000
UT Rep. James David Matheson (D) Matheson for Congress $1,000
UT Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R) Hatch Election Committee Inc. $2,000
UT Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R) Hatch Election Committee Inc. $3,000
VA Blue Dog Political Action Committee $5,000
VA Rep. Eric Ivan Cantor (R) Every Republican Is Crucial (ERICPAC) $5,000
WI Sen. Terry Moulton (R) Friends of Terry Moulton $250
WI Sen. Joseph K. Leibham (R) Leibham Campaign Committee $250
WI Sen. Scott Fitzgerald (R) Scott Fitzgerald for Senate $1,000
WI Republican Party of Wisconsin - Federal Acount $2,500
WY Sen. John Barrasso (R) Friends of John Barrasso $1,000
WY Sen. Michael B. Enzi (R) Making Business Excel Political Action Committee $2,500


The contributions are not made randomly.

Here's how they decide, from the AstraZeneca site:

AstraZeneca Political Action Committee (AZPAC)

AstraZeneca’s Political Action Committee (PAC) provides eligible U.S. employees an opportunity to support federal and state candidates who share AstraZeneca’s perspective on the public policies that impact our business and the patients we serve.

"AZ PAC is funded solely by voluntary employee contributions. AZ PAC’s Board of Directors, comprised of representatives from different units of AstraZeneca, directs AZ PAC’s communications, contributions and membership programs. The AZ PAC Board determines which candidates will receive support, without regard to their party affiliation, based on the candidate's understanding and support of issues important to AstraZeneca and the biopharmaceutical industry, the candidate's membership on key committees that consider legislation vital to our business, the location of AstraZeneca employees and/or facilities in the candidate’s state or district, the candidate’s leadership position or potential for leadership, and the candidate’s financial need and potential for winning."

The Doctors

Physician payments:

AstraZeneca’s reporting meets the requirements of our April 2010 corporate integrity agreement with the Office of Inspector General of the US Department of Health and Human Services, and incorporates key elements of the Physician Payments Sunshine provisions in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which provisions have not yet taken effect. Our disclosure is separated into three reports, located at the link below.

The first report covers the period of time preceding April 1, 2011, and is limited to compensation to US-based physicians and related entities for speaker programs or requisite speaker training.

The second report covers the period of time beginning April 1, 2011, and shows payments and transfers of value to US-based physicians and related entities from that date forward. These include consulting fees, speaker compensation, research payments, meals, travel, educational items, royalties, license fees and ownership or investment interests.

The third report also covers the period of time beginning April 1, 2011, and shows research payments to US-based medical and research institutions, hospitals, clinics and group practices.

Q: What types of payments and transfers of value are being reported?
A: These are defined in the Sunshine Act and include:

Consulting fees
Speaker fees
Certain educational items
Research payments
Royalties and license fees
Ownership and investment interests
Only payments and transfers of value made directly or indirectly by AstraZeneca’s US business are included in the reports.

Q: Who is included in these reports?
A: We are reporting payments and transfers of value to US-based physicians and related entities. This includes both direct payments to physicians as well as payments made to entities related to a physician at the request of, on behalf of, or for the benefit of, that physician. The reporting will also capture certain indirect payments to physicians made through third-party entities, such as clinical research organizations.

We are also reporting payments to US-based medical and research institutions, hospitals, clinics and group practices for clinical and pre-clinical research. This includes both direct payments and indirect payments through a contract research organization or academic research organization."

Institutions receiving top dollars Q1 2011

BRIGHAM AND WOMENS HOSPITAL Boston MA 02115 Research $3,282,485

BARBARA ANN KARMANOS CANCER CENTER Detroit MI 48201 Research $199,780


MASSACHUSETTS GENERAL HOSPITAL Boston MA 02114 Research $111,868

CATALINA RESEARCH INSTITUTE Chino CA 91710 Research $105,139


DANA FARBER PARTNERS CANCER CARE INC. Boston MA 02115 Research $96,532
DANA-FARBER CANCER INSTITUTE Boston MA 02115 Research $108,141

TRUSTEES OF THE UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA Philadelphia PA 19104 Research $325,000


Keep in mind these reports are for a 3 month time bracket. Add into the equation payments to be used in the settlement of the diabetes lawsuits for the antipsychotic Seroquel, the $520 million dollar fine for illegal marketing of Seroquel, the approximate $700 million spent on legal defense for that litigation, and the payments to physicians and political campaigns to promote the company's agenda and medication, and the sum of that equation is the definition of corporate ran America, and business as usual when it comes to corporate crime such as the illegal marketing of a potent antipsychotic, Seroquel.

The claimants in the Seroquel diabetes lawsuit are in fact victims of corporate crime, and they deserve more than what the settlement offer packets are showing they may receive for an injury to their body that has a lifetime negative outcome, which can include shortened lifespan due to the result of having diabetes.

Business as usual in America, profit before patients seems to be the theme of the day.

Rich Fante, President, AstraZeneca U.S. & CEO North America

Joined the other elite invitation recipients at a state dinner for Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Snippet of the guest list:

Mrs. Leni Eccles, Belvedere, CA, Ms. Norma Douglas, Sun Valley, ID; Ms. Susan Eisenhower, Washington, DC, Mr. Bucky Clarkson, Jacksonville, FL; Mr. Christoph Eschenbach, Washington, DC, Ms. Jeanette Weaver Ruesch, Chevy Chase, MD; Mr. Richard Fante, AstraZeneca, Newtown Square, PA, Mrs. Janine Fante; Dr. Daniel E Fass, Klapper and Fass, Scarsdale, NY, Mrs. Jessica Fass, Riverside, CT; Mr. Otto Fricke, Member of the German Bundestag, CDU/CSU.

H.E. Dr Hans-Peter Friedrich, Federal Minister of the Interior; Mrs. Carol Fulp, Oak Bluffs, MA
Mr. Bernie Fulp, Boston, MA; Mr. Eric Garcetti, Los Angeles, CA, Ms. Amy Wakeland; The Honorable Timothy F. Geithner, Secretary, U.S. Department of the Treasury, Washington, DC, Mrs. Carole Geithner, Spouse of The Honorable Timothy Geithner; Mr. Robert J Gillette, Tempe, AZ, Ms. Lisa Bunch, Phoenix, AZ; The Honorable Austan Goolsbee, Chair, Council of Economic Advisors, Washington, DC, Mrs. Robin Goolsbee; The Honorable Philip Gordon, Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, U.S. Department of State, Washington, DC, Mrs. Rachel Gordon.

For a CEO of a pharmaceutical company, it appears it pays to have friends in high places......

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