Thursday, October 1, 2009

BGlobe: Ban Pharma Payment Deals with Doctors

The Boston Globe editorialized that when physicians "promote drugs in exchange for pay from pharmaceutical companies, they cease to be independent evaluators" of drugs' safety. The editorial argues that hospitals "should prohibit doctors from taking part in so-called speakers bureaus, whereby companies compensate them for giving talks to colleagues about new drugs," and legislators "should go beyond requiring disclosure of the relationships, and ban the practice." As an example, the Globe points to Eli Lilly & Co., which "in the first three months of this year" paid "at least 60 doctors in Massachusetts a total of more than $580,000 to give speeches about its drugs." The piece emphasizes that Eli Lilly's "voluntary disclosure is only the tip of the iceberg. ... By some estimates, 1 in 6 doctors in the country take speakers' fees from drug companies."

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