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article imageBig Pharma pays record money to medical doctors

By Tim Sandle     May 31, 2013 in Business
Spending by major pharmaceutical companies to U.S. doctors exceeded $1 billion in 2012, according to some newly released figures.
The new data has been compiled by the consultancy firm PharmaShine for the Financial Times. The figure in excess of $ 1 billion is considerably greater than the figure for 2011 although this may relate to a number of pharma firms are revealing their payments for the first time.
The new information from several companies about payments is in preparation for the Sunshine Act, which comes into force in the next few months within the U.S., mandating pharma to disclose all of its payments to doctors.
It is estimated that around half a million doctors received payments. There are different reasons why a pharmaceutical company pays a medical doctor. This can include including a particular new medicine in a clinical trial. Other reasons include entertaining and travel.
The risk is that some members of the public could regard the payments as buying influence to promote particular medicines.
However, as a rejoinder, the company Merck said in a press statement: “Consulting engagements conducted with external experts result in . . . real-world knowledge and perspectives [which] contribute to advancing both science at Merck and in the broader scientific community and ultimately help benefit human health.”
In terms of the pharmaceutical companies involved, according to Pharma Times, Merck tops the list with payments of $226 million in 2012, followed closely by Lilly with $219m and Pfizer with $162 million. Despite the forthcoming Act, the drugs firms Sanofi, Roche, Bayer and Amgen have each decided against releasing their payments for 2012.
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