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Top Medicare prescribers rake in speaking fees from drugmakers

ProPublica, June 26, 2013

When the blood pressure drug Bystolic hit the market in 2008, it faced a crowded field of cheap generics. So its maker, Forest Laboratories, launched a promotional assault on the group in the best position to determine Bystolic's success: those in control of prescription pads. It flooded the offices of health professionals with drug reps, and it hired doctors to persuade their peers to choose Bystolic ? even though the drug hadn't proved more effective than competitors. The strategy worked. In the 2012 fiscal year, sales of Bystolic reached $348 million, almost double its total from two years earlier, the company reported.