California Foster Care Physicians Taking Double the Average in Pharma Money


Drug companies spent over $14 million from 2010 to 2013 to “woo” California doctors who specialize in treating foster children, according to part three of an ongoing investigation by San Jose Mercury News. “Drugmakers distribute their cash to all manner of doctors, but the investigation found that they paid the state’s foster care prescribers on average more than double what they gave to the typical California physician,” reported Mercury News. The physicians who prescribed the most psychiatric medications to foster children received almost four times as much in cash and gifts as the lower-frequency prescribers.

The situation raises concerns that “unsuspecting youth have been caught in the middle of a big-money alliance that could be helping to drive the rampant use of psychiatric medications in the state’s foster care system,” stated Mercury News.

John Murphy, assistant general counsel for the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, described the situation to Mercury News as a “robust dialogue” between industry and physicians in support of “medical innovation.”

“These figures suggest these doctors are not looking out primarily for the kids’ interests,” UCLA social welfare professor (and MIA Blogger) David Cohen told the Mercury News. “They suggest many doctors are looking out for their financial interests, and we should all be wary.”

One physician receiving substantial payments from the drug industry told Mercury News that, “My conflict is essentially neutralized because I speak on almost all brand-name drugs.”

Part 3 The Rx Alliance that Drugs Our Kids (San Jose Mercury News, November 23, 2014)

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Rob Wipond
Rob Wipond is a freelance journalist who writes frequently on the interfaces between psychiatry, civil rights, policing, surveillance and privacy, and social change. His articles have been nominated for seventeen magazine and journalism awards. His book Your Consent is Not Required: The Rise in Psychiatric Detentions, Forced Treatment, and Abusive Guardianships will be released in January 2023, and can be pre-ordered through BenBella or major online booksellers. He can be contacted through his website.


  1. OK, so where is the moment when bribing doctors is made illegal? Including sponsored lunches, dinners, “conferences” in Hawaii, kick-backs and even gadgets? This should not be tolerated anywhere – not in politics, not in government offices and certainly not in health care.