Pfizer Discloses $35 Million In Payments To Doctors, Hospitals For Research And Promotion
Pfizer, the largest drug maker in the world, disclosed 35 million in payments during the second half of 2009 to doctors who consulted or spoke on behalf of drugs and to the medical centers that tested them, The New York Times reports. This is Pfizer's first disclosure of this nature. "While other pharmaceutical companies have disclosed payments to doctors, Pfizer is the first to disclose payments for the clinical trials. The disclosure does not include payments outside the United States" (Wilson, 3/31).
"The drugmaker made the disclosure as part of a government settlement after it pleaded guilty last year to illegally promoting more than a dozen of its own drugs. It also paid a record $2.3bn fine in connection to the deal," the Financial Times reports. "Pfizer said the disclosures were in line with healthcare reporting provisions included in the new healthcare reform law that was signed by US President Barack Obama, last week" (Kirchgaessner, 4/1).
The Wall Street Journal: The payments reached 4,500 doctors and 250 medical research institutions. They "included an average of $5,000 each to about 1,500 health-care professionals to provide input and advice about the needs of patients. Also, about 2,800 professionals received an average of $3,400 apiece to serve as speakers who educate peers about the safe and appropriate use of Pfizer drugs, the company said." About 250 hospitals shared in $15.3 million for research, clinical trials and recruiting trial participants (Rockoff and Loftus, 3/31).
The Associated Press: Pfizer posted its payment data in a searchable database. "Data posted by three other drugmakers so far has not been so user-friendly, said Allan Coukell, director of the Pew Prescription Project, a consumer group." The database also provides information about nonmonetary rewards, such as meals, travel, office wall charts and other items. The firm spent $1.7 million on business-related travel for doctors in the six month period. The new federal law will require even more rigorous disclosure, to include items that cost $10 or more. If expenses and payments to a single doctor top $100, they will have to be reported the U.S. health department (Johnson, 3/31).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.