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Wednesday, March 21st 2007

The Pharma – Physician Relationship Back In The News

The NYT goes over state laws requiring drug companies to report their payments to physicians.

There is nothing illegal about doctors’ accepting money for marketing talks, and professional organizations have largely ignored the issue.

But research shows that doctors who have close relationships with drug makers tend to prescribe more, newer and pricier drugs — whether or not they are in the best interests of patients.

A New York Times/CBS News poll last month found that 85 percent of respondents thought it “not acceptable” for doctors to be paid by drug companies to comment on prescription drugs. Eighty-five percent also said such payments would influence the decisions that doctors made about patient care.

In addition to Minnesota, legislators in Vermont, Maine, West Virginia, California and the District of Columbia have passed laws requiring some level of disclosure of drug company marketing efforts. In Vermont, the state has collected three years of data on payments to doctors, but drug makers are allowed to keep the records private by declaring them trade secrets.

Ah The Allure Of Getting Paid…

What does one state’s database show?

Ten doctors and one dentist in Minnesota received more than $500,000…

More than 250 Minnesota psychiatrists together earned $6.7 million in drug company money — more than any other specialty. Seven of the last eight presidents of the Minnesota Psychiatric Society have served as consultants to drug makers, according to the Times examination.