April 1st, 2011

Pfizer, Glaxo Disclose Fees to U.S. Doctors

The Wall Street Journal

Pfizer Inc. paid $177 million and GlaxoSmithKline PLC paid $85 million during 2010 to U.S. doctors and institutions for their work on clinical trials, consulting, speaking and other items, the companies disclosed Thursday.

They were the latest disclosures in a trend toward more transparency by drug makers, which have been criticized for using payments to doctors to unduly influence prescribing patterns, or to promote unauthorized uses of drugs. The companies defend the payments as necessary to help conduct research and to educate physicians about the authorized uses of their drugs.

Pfizer and some other drug makers, including Cephalon Inc. and Eli Lilly & Co., are required to post certain physician-payment data in connection with settlements of government investigations of allegedly improper marketing practices. Others, including Glaxo, Merck & Co. and Johnson & Johnson, have begun making disclosures voluntarily, to varying degrees.

Under last year’s U.S. health-care overhaul legislation, all drug makers will be required to begin collecting uniform data on physician payments in 2012, and to report the data to the government beginning in 2013. The government plans to make the data available in a publicly searchable database.

Supporters of the legislation say the disclosures will help foster greater accountability, and will inform patients about any financial relationships between their doctors and drug manufacturers.

Read more: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704530204576234960116025514.html

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