I am confused.


I got a letter in the mail from American Correctional Officer.  The simple fact that I got a mailing from this organization piqued my interest (and mysteriously made me a touch nervous); but when I opened it, I was very surprised at the contents:

Dear Doctor:

As part of our approved physician network, you may see one or more of our members as patients.  The American Correctional Officer is committed to providing physicians, as well as members and their families, with the most current information on prescription medications.  As part of this commitment, we are pleased to provide you with this information regarding Fibromyalgia and LYRICA (pregabalin) Capsules CV.  LYRICA is available to our members through their current health plan.

The letter goes on to explain to me what the symptoms of Fibromyalgia are, as well as the American College of Rheumatology criteria for diagnosis of this disorder.  It also informs me that LYRICA is the only agent approved for the management of Fibromyalgia.  Finally, there is a full PI for the drug enclosed along with the letter.

Now, I may just be an overly-suspicious kind of guy, but it seems odd that an organization for prison guards would be so interested in the Fibromyalgia treatment of their members.  I do actually take care of prison guards, and do not recall Fibromyalgia being epidemic in this population.  Wouldn't it make sense to go after a costlier disease such as diabetes or heart disease?  What makes the ACO so keen on Fibromyalgia?

I also do not recall ever receiving other bits of educational material from the American Correctional Officer organization.  If they are committed to providing me valuable information (because I may take care of their members), why have they not sent me anything else?  Besides, why would I find this organization a trustworthy source of information on disease.  It may come as a surprise, but the American Correctional Officer is not the first place I would turn to when I have questions about how to treat disease.

So what's up?  It's obvious.  Pfizer has some sort of deal with this organization to send out letters to physicians with the letterhead of the American Correctional Officer.  This makes it much more likely that I would read it and perhaps think about LYRICA for my next Fibromyalgia patient (which is extremely unlikely to be a correctional officer).  What does the ACO get out of it?  I am not sure, but I suspect they are not doing it out of the kindness of their heart.

martha-stewart-jail-criminal What's next? Will I get a letter from the Circus Workers Union to promote prostate health?  Will I get a phone call from the Fraternal Order of Police (during dinner) reminding me to lower cholesterol using Lipitor?  Bob Dole promoting Viagra?  No wait, they did that one.

At least the American Correction Officer could have gotten Martha Stewart to be their spokesperson.

I hear she has Fibromyalgia.