Pfizer Gives Details on Payments to Doctors

Duff Wilson
The New York Times

Pfizer, the world’s largest drug maker, said Wednesday that it paid about $20 million to 4,500 doctors and other medical professionals for consulting and speaking on its behalf in the last six months of 2009, its first public accounting of payments to the people who decide which drugs to recommend.

Pfizer also paid $15.3 million to 250 academic medical centers and other research groups for clinical trials in the same period.

While other pharmaceutical companies have disclosed payments to doctors, Pfizer is the first to disclose payments for the clinical trials. The disclosure does not include payments outside the United States…

…Pfizer’s disclosure met with skepticism from one specialist on conflicts of interest in medicine.

“I think it’s a good thing to do, but I put absolutely no trust in what drug companies voluntarily disclose to the public when those things are unaudited,” said Eric G. Campbell, lead author of a 2007 study of physician-industry relationships published in The New England Journal of Medicine.

Professor Campbell, who is director of research at the Mongan Institute for Health Policy at Massachusetts General Hospital and an associate professor at Harvard Medical School, said drug companies were trying to get ahead of a rising tide of public opinion for disclosure…

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