The federal government unveiled data detailing 4.4 million payments made to doctors and teaching hospitals by pharmaceutical and medical device companies. All told, according to officials from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, companies spent a total of $3.5 billion during that period on 546,000 individual physicians and almost 1,360 teaching hospitals. Forty percent of payments (more than 1.7 million records) did not include the names of the doctors or hospitals that received the payments; the rest did.
Pharmaceutical company payments to doctors extend far beyond rank-and-file clinicians — and deep into the leadership of America’s teaching hospitals, according to a study published recently in the Journal of the American Medical Association. A team of researchers at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center examined the boards of the 50 largest drug companies by global sales (excluding three companies that were not publicly traded). The researchers found that 40 percent — 19 companies — had at least one board member who also held a leadership role at an academic medical center. Sixteen of the 17 companies based in the United States had at least one. Several had more than one. All told, the research team found that 41 of the companies’ 2012 board members held leadership positions at academic medical centers. Six of the 41 were pharmaceutical company executives who served on hospital boards of directors or held other leadership posts. The authors wrote that when academic medical leaders serve on pharmaceutical company boards, it can lead to conflicts not only for individuals, but for the critically important health care institutions they guide.
Drug giant GlaxoSmithKline has announced it will no longer pay health care professionals to promote its products or the diseases they treat to “audiences who can prescribe or influence prescribing.” Glaxo also plans to stop compensating its sales representatives based on the number of prescriptions that doctors write. Some experts believe the changes are designed to deflect attention away from recent scandals involving the company, including a $3-billion fraud settlement in 2012 and ongoing bribery allegations in China. In 2014, drug and medical device companies will be required to report and disclose all payments to physicians and the information will be displayed in an online government database that you will be able to search. You can also search ProPublica's database to see the disclosed payments made to physicians in your state.
Nearly 20 percent of corporate crime is being committed by companies that make medical products. Crimes committed by some of the top pharmaceutical companies include fabricated studies and hiding damaging research. A number of recent articles and books have delved into the practices of the drug industry, concluding it operates like an organized crime ring. Corruption of science is one of the most dangerous forms of corruption. Doctors rely on published studies to make treatment recommendations, and large numbers of patients can be harmed when false findings are published. A recent study concluded that a majority of American drug commercials—60 percent of prescription drug ads, and 80 percent of ads for over-the-counter (OTC) drugs—are either misleading or outright false Warnings of adverse side effects in drug ads can backfire. While initially making viewers cautious, over the course of time people tend to ignore the warnings; some even see them as indications of honesty and trustworthiness.
Doctors Who Don’t Speak Out
By BARRY MEIER
THE note sent by a doctor to several executives at Johnson & Johnson was blunt: an artificial hip sold by the company was so poorly designed that the company should slow its marketing until it understood why patients were getting hurt.
The doctor, who also worked as a […]
By Jeffry John Aufderheide
Sometimes gems are difficult to come by. However, when we find them, just clean them up a bit and we can appreciate their ‘real value’. The little treasure I discovered was a document located on Merck Pharmaceutical’s website. It disclosed how much Merck paid doctors as speaking fees in the […]
By ROBERT PEAR
To head off medical conflicts of interest, the Obama administration is poised to require drug companies to disclose the payments they make to doctors for research, consulting, speaking, travel and entertainment.
Many researchers have found evidence that such payments can influence doctors’ treatment decisions and contribute to higher costs by encouraging the […]
By Dr. Mercola
rug companies are master marketers, and they attack the drug market on multiple levels.
On the surface level are direct-to-consumer advertisements, like the drug commercials you see on television and in magazines.
The next level is an army of drug reps who “educate” physicians about new drugs; a practice that includes visiting physicians […]
A report by the Financial Times has claimed a group of pharmaceutical companies has paid doctors in the US almost $150m so far during 2011.
Prepared in conjunction with the data provider, PharmaShine, the figures show the money was paid by pharmaceutical firms, including Eli Lilly, AstraZeneca (AZ) and Pfizer, for doctors’ travel […]