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Piercing the Veil, More Drug Companies Reveal Payments to Doctors


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The article is part of an ongoing investigation by ProPublica into the financial links between some doctors and medical companies.

 

The rest of the article can be read here: http://www.propublica.org/article/piercing-the-veil-more-drug-companies-reveal-payments-to-doctors

 

 

 

by Charles Ornstein, Tracy Weber and Dan Nguyen

ProPublica, Sep. 7, 2011, 5:31 p.m.

 

 

Eight pharmaceutical companies, including the nation's three largest, doled out more than $220 million last year to promotional speakers for their products, according to a ProPublica analysis of company data.

 

For the first time, all these companies have reported a full year of payments, allowing for head-to-head comparisons of how much they spent on physicians to help push their pills. Some appear to be paring back.

 

Firms with the highest U.S. sales last year didn't spend the most on physician marketers. Industry leader Pfizer, with sales of $26.2 billion, spent $34.4 million on speakers, ranking third among the eight companies. By comparison, Eli Lilly and Co. spent the most on speakers, $61.5 million, even though its sales were about half of Pfizer's.

 

"We continue to believe in the benefits and value that educational programs led by physicians provide to patient care," Lilly spokesman J. Scott MacGregor said in an email.

 

The data provide a preview of what the public can expect to see in 2013 [1], when all drug and medical-device companies -- potentially hundreds -- must report such figures to the federal government.

 

Until 2009, pharmaceutical company payments to health professionals were closely held trade secrets. But several companies began reporting the information publicly under pressure from lawmakers or as a condition of settling federal whistle-blower lawsuits.

 

In October, ProPublica published a database called Dollars for Docs [2] that included information from those companies. It allows the public to search for individual physicians to see whether they've been on pharma's payroll.

 

Today, ProPublica is updating that tool to include payments made to health professionals by 12 companies. Eight of those published data for all of 2010: Lilly, GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer, Merck, Cephalon, Johnson & Johnson, ViiV Healthcare and AstraZeneca.

 

 

I came off Seroxat in August 2005 after a 4 month taper. I was initially prescibed a benzo for several months and then Prozac for 5 years and after that, Seroxat for 3 years and 9 months.

 

"It's like in the great stories Mr.Frodo, the ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger they were, and sometimes you didn't want to know the end because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end it's only a passing thing this shadow, even darkness must pass. A new day will come, and when the sun shines it'll shine out the clearer."  Samwise Gamgee, Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers

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