January 26, 2010
Glaxo and Merck Disclose Payments To Doctors
The Miami Herald reports that Glaxo and Merck have launched on-line databases disclosing payments to physicians:
Responding to a continuing push from lawmakers to reveal how much the pharmaceutical industry is influencing America's doctors, two more major drug makers have made public their payments to physicians, but an industry expert says the data are of limited value.
The new websites, by GlaxoSmithKline and Merck, join one set up by Eli Lilly in August. A similar service is expected from Pfizer later this year.
. . . . ``We welcome the companies that are voluntarily disclosing,'' said Allan Coukell, a pharmacist who directs the Pew Prescription Project, a nonprofit watchdog group. ``But that remains a tiny fraction of all companies.''
The Senate healthcare reform bill contains a requirement for all drug makers to reveal their payments to doctors. ``We very much need national reporting standards,'' Coukell said. ``What we have now is incomplete, with different standards and not aggregated in one place.''
What's more, the drug makers disclose different things. Glaxo, for example, reveals consultant and speaker fees, while Merck reveals only ``promotional'' speeches not involving continuing medical education, known as CME.
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