Drug Maker to Report Fees to Doctors

This is a step in the right direction. Transparency is needed where conflict may exist in how a doctor, who is a paid consultant to a drug maker, can serve his patients and receive payments from the drug maker simultaneously. This transparency should extend to any relationship between practicing doctors and equipment makers, hospitals, consulting companies and others.

Larry Ho, MD

September 25, 2008

New York Times

Amid a national debate over the influence of industry money on medical research and practice, two pharmaceutical giants say they will begin publicly reporting payments they make to outside doctors.

John C. Lechleiter, chief executive of Eli Lilly & Company, announced on Wednesday that starting next year it intended to post in an online database all its payments to doctors for speaking and consulting services. The postings will “likely include” the names of the doctors, or will provide some other identifying information about them, along with the reason for the payments, the company said.

In the wake of Lilly’s announcement, Merck & Company said later Wednesday that it would disclose speaking fees it pays to doctors, also beginning in 2009. More…