What drug salesmen really tell your doctor

Dangers? What dangers?

Big Pharma sales reps almost never mention risks and drug side effects when they're pitching drugs to your doctor -- including drugs that come with some of the most serious warnings of all.

A new survey of 1,700 drug presentations finds that just 6 percent include any mention of serious risks -- and it's not because those products don't have any drug side effects.

Just the opposite: 57 percent of the drugs in the survey are so risky they have the strongest possible warnings, such as the FDA's "black box" label, according to the survey of doctors in the United States, Canada, and France.

This is criminal, and I mean that literally since all three nations have laws requiring any sales presentation on a drug's benefits include information on drug side effect and risks.

Of course, a good doctor -- a skeptical doctor -- knows better than to simply trust a sales rep to give him all the information he needs before dishing out the drug.

But the survey finds we're also short of good doctors, because they actually admit to prescribing the drugs in the sales pitch despite the dangerously incomplete data on drug side effects.

Why?

You know the old saying... follow the money.

Drug reps consistently treat doctors to everything from meals to posh consulting gigs where they get paid -- sometimes handsomely -- to give a little talk to a group of fellow doctors.

And doctors return the favor by prescribing the meds they're told to, especially if they hope for more meals and bigger paydays.

It's a quid-pro-quo system that has the potential to hurt you and your loved ones -- but thankfully, it's getting easier than ever to find out where your own doctor stands in this relationship.

New laws are taking effect that require drug companies to report everything they give to docs -- right down to the cash value of those meals I mentioned. You can search for information on your own doctor in this database.

If you're not comfortable with your doctor's willingness to accept industry handouts, maybe it's time to make a switch to a doctor who isn't on the payroll -- a holistic doctor focused on safe solutions instead of drug company compensation.