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Healthy Skepticism Library item: 16953

Warning: This library includes all items relevant to health product marketing that we are aware of regardless of quality. Often we do not agree with all or part of the contents.


Publication type: Electronic Source

Silverman E
Glaxo Publishes List Of Fees Paid To Doctors
Pharmalot 2009 Dec 14

Full text:

Yet another drugmaker is uttering the ‘T’ word – transparency. This time around, GlaxoSmithKline has published a list of fees paid between April 1 and June 30 to US healthcare professionals for speaking and consulting services. The drugmaker plans to update the list quarterly, although there was no word on disclosing this info for previous periods (see if you can find anyone you know on the list).
By its own tally, Glaxo paid $14.6 million to approximately 3,700 US docs and other healthcare professionals during those six months for speaking or consulting services. And the average amount spent per healthcare professional in the report was $3,909. Take a look and tell us what else you would like to see disclosed.
In recent months, Merck and Lilly have taken similar steps (see here and here). These moves come amid growing controversy over the influence such payments may have over medical treatment. The Physician Sunshine Payment Act, which is included in the health care reform bill before Congress, requires drug and device makers to publicly reveal payments to docs.


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Cases of wilful misrepresentation are a rarity in medical advertising. For every advertisement in which nonexistent doctors are called on to testify or deliberately irrelevant references are bunched up in [fine print], you will find a hundred or more whose greatest offenses are unquestioning enthusiasm and the skill to communicate it.

The best defence the physician can muster against this kind of advertising is a healthy skepticism and a willingness, not always apparent in the past, to do his homework. He must cultivate a flair for spotting the logical loophole, the invalid clinical trial, the unreliable or meaningless testimonial, the unneeded improvement and the unlikely claim. Above all, he must develop greater resistance to the lure of the fashionable and the new.
- Pierre R. Garai (advertising executive) 1963