The Fda Is Growling At Drugmakers, Too

In the go-go 1980s, when regulators slept, drug marketers let their imaginations go. They concocted clever strategies for boosting sales, from advertising prescription drugs directly to consumers to hosting "symposiums" for doctors in exotic locales. One gambit was based on the fact that physicians are free to prescribe drugs for uses not approved by the Food & Drug Administration. Once a drugmaker got the agency go-ahead to sell a product to treat a minor form of cancer, say, it then told doctors about additional studies demonstrating the treatment's efficacy for other types of cancer. Presto: big sales.

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