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Pharma payments to US doctors down

Follows intensified public scrutiny and introduction of the Sunshine Act
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Payments to US healthcare professionals for promotional speeches are significantly down, new ProPublica analysis has shown, with increased public interest in spending to blame.

The analysis found, for example, that Lilly's payments to speakers dropped by 55 per cent in a year, from $47.9m in 2011 to $21.6m in 2012. Pfizer's speaking payments fell 62 per cent over the same period, from nearly $22m to $8.3m.

Novartis spent 40 per cent less on speakers that year than it did between October 2010 and September 2011, reducing payments from $24.8m to $14.8m.

Pharmaceuticals companies' marketing practices have been under increasing scrutiny in the US, particularly from regulators, academic institutions and the public. Several firms have settled federal whistleblower lawsuits accusing them of improperly marketing drugs.

In addition, the Physician Payment Sunshine Act, a part of the 2010 health reform law, will soon require all pharmaceutical and medical device companies to publicly report payments to physicians.

The first disclosures required under the act are expected in September 2014, covering the period from August to December 2013.

Consequently, some pharma companies have begun re-evaluating their work with physician speakers. GlaxoSmithKline has already confirmed that it will stop paying doctors to speak on behalf of its drugs.

Johnson and Johnson, however, increased payments to physician speakers by 17 per cent from 2011 to 2012, while AstraZeneca's payments remained largely unchanged in 2012 after a steep decline the previous year.

ProPublica has been tracking publicly reported payments by drug companies since 2010 as part of its Dollars for Docs project. Users can search online to see if their doctors have received compensation from the 15 companies that make such information available.

Article by
Tara Craig

11th March 2014

From: Marketing

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