Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?


High figures paid by pharma companies to doctors revealed

While the U.K. figure appears high, in the U.S. the estimate is $1.5 billion per year. This was by European companies alone, in 2014. The figures have been revealed under a change to the U.S. law, with the intention of making the payments more transparent. This was the 2010 Affordable Care Act (otherwise called the “Sunshine Act.”)

According to PharmaFile, a sizeable proportion of the $1.5 billion went on: “The fees were paid to doctors for travel and entertainment, consultancy services and promotional speeches surrounding drugs, and for facilitating clinical trials for new drugs.”

The figures were subsequently broken down into:

$803.49 million in royalty or licensing payments.
$369.44 million in consulting fees.
$403.64 million on expenses for drink, food, travel and accommodation.

There was also a category for “entertainment,” where one payment included a $65 massage.

The Act was passed because of concerns that prescribing decisions made by medics might be influenced by being entertained or sponsored by a particular pharmaceutical company. This was denied, at the time, by the representatives from the pharmaceutical sector who argued that the promotion and marketing of medications, to bring them to the attention of medics, is an important part of the process and was ultimately in the best interest of patients.

With the U.K. figures, a separate PharmaFile report shows that the payments amounted to:

£30.2 million for consultancy services.
£10.8 million “meetings” involving 28,556 ‘healthcare professionals.’

The U.K. figures are more obfuscated than the U.S. ones. Many of the “meetings, for instance, will involve some form of “entertainment.” However, in June 2016 this could become more transparent. This is when a new code will be implemented for companies that are members of The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry, where a fuller-breakdown of figures will need to be made each year.

Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

You may also like:


Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdottir has been hailed for her handling of the Covid crisis - Copyright AFP SeyllouJeremie RICHARDIceland votes on Saturday in an...


Each June 4, the Hong Kong Alliance organised candlelight vigils in Hong Kong's Victoria Park commemorating Beijing's crackdown on Tiananmen Square - Copyright AFP/File...


Myanmar's coup has exposed a schism in the monkhood, with some prominent clerics even giving the generals their blessing and others supporting the protesters...


Notes are left on pumps to let motorists know they are empty at an Exxon gas station in Charlotte, North Carolina - Copyright AFP...