Doctors' Dubious Excuses For Taking Pharmaceutical Companies' Money

Roy M. Poses | Health Care Renewal | March 19, 2013

Pro Publica has updated their database of payments by pharmaceutical payments to physicians and organizations.  It now has data from 15 companies totaling more than $2 billion from 2009 to 2012.

To accompany Pro Publica's report, a number of news outlets wrote about payments given to local or regional doctors.  These included, in semi-random order, the Los Angeles Daily News (via the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin), the Salt Lake (City, Utah) Tribune, the San Jose (California) Mercury News, NewsChannel5 in Nashville, Tennessee, the Pasadena (California) Star-News, the Bergen and Passaic, New Jersey Record Herald via NorthJersey, the Philadelphia Inquirer, and the Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch.

The combined reports showed that many physicians, including prominent academics and community practitioners, are still getting a lot of money from pharmaceutical firms.  Since Pro Publica was only able to get data from some US drug companies, albeit those who accounted for 47 percent of US drug sales, it is likely that many more doctors than those in the data base got such payments, and the doctors in the data base may have gotten more money from companies that do not report their payments.  In addition, it is likely that many more doctors get similar payments from medical device companies, health care information technology companies, and other for-profit corporations that promote health care products and services.