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Some Data on Physicians’ Financial Connections Becoming Available

Coverage of payments to physicians from pharmaceutical and device makers received extensive coverage last Thursday primarily pointing out local payment patterns, frequently with a focus on one or a few physicians. The Los Angeles Times reported that “a recent string of scandals has raised questions about whether patients need to know more” about financial connections between pharmaceutical and medical device makers and physicians. “Only recently have some tools become available to help patients learn about their doctors’ financial ties before they are in the exam room.” The Affordable Care Act requires that “by 2013, every drug and device company operating in the United States will have to” reveal payments they’ve made to “doctors for consulting, research, even a dinner.” Already, “ProPublica has created a database, Dollars for Docs.”

The Boston Globe reported, “Total payments to doctors for promoting pharmaceutical companies’ products to their colleagues appear to be falling in Massachusetts, suggesting that new restrictions designed to distance doctors from industry are leading some to abandon the lucrative speaking circuit.” The story reports on payments by Eli Lilly and Co., down 46 percent since 2009; GlaxoSmithKline down 29 percent. The story was based on data from ProPublica.

The Star-Ledger (NJ) reported, “In 2010, 11 drug makers, including New Jersey-based Merck and Johnson & Johnson, paid out more than $446 million to doctors across the country, according to the news organization ProPublica.” But “the current ProPublica database does not include a number of drug makers, including Roche and Bristol Myers Squibb.”

The Oregonian reported, “A database released today by the nonprofit ProPublica provides new details about the depth and breadth of the pharmaceutical industry payments, including in Oregon. The list includes 12 companies which cover more than 40 percent of US drug sales.”

The Orlando Sentinel reported, “Doctors in Florida have received more than $56 million from a dozen pharmaceutical companies since 2009, according to data released Wednesday by ProPublica.”

The Cleveland (OH) Plain Dealer reported, “Doctors in Northeast Ohio have been paid $5.8 million by drug companies since 2009 for talks about the companies’ medications.” The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that payments are declining in “a nationwide trend.”

From the American Association for Justice news release.

Bob Kraft

I am a Dallas, Texas lawyer who has had the privilege of helping thousands of clients since 1971 in the areas of Personal Injury law and Social Security Disability.

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