Television therapist Dr. Drew Pinsky, who has hosted “Sober House” and “Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew,” among other shows, is facing inquires from the U.S. government in connection with its case against drug maker GlaxoSmithKline, the New York Daily News reports.
“The media star doctor is facing allegations that he accepted $275,000 to talk up the drug Wellbutrin SR while hosting his radio and television show ‘Loveline,’” the story reports.
GlaxoSmithKline has agreed to plead guilty to misdemeanor criminal charges related to healthcare fraud in the case, and has agreed to pay a $3 billion penalty, the story reports. The case is the largest of its kind in U.S. history, the report adds.
“Pinsky reportedly accepted the six-figure sum over the course of two months in 1999 for extolling the virtues of the antidepressant ‘in settings where it did not appear that [he] was speaking for GSK,’ according to the Justice Department,” the story reports.
Pinsky reportedly claimed that Wellbutrin SR could “increase libido” in depressed patients.
Via his publicist, Pinsky sent an email denying that he had done anything wrong. The email states: "In the late ’90s I was hired to participate in a 2-year initiative discussing intimacy and depression which was funded by an educational grant by Glaxo Wellcome. Services for the non branded campaign included town hall meetings, writings and multi media activities in conjunction with the patient advocacy group the National Depressive and Manic Depressive Association (NDMDA). My comments were consistent with my clinical experience."