Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Pharmaceutical Companies Drastically Cut Speaker Payments for Doctors

A number of large pharmaceutical companies have greatly reduced payments to healthcare professionals for promotional speeches. ProPublica reports that GlaxoSmithKline and Pfizer have dropped their speaking payments by over 60% from 2011 to 2012. Eli Lilly reduced their spending by 55%, from $47.9 million in 2011 to $21.6 million in 2012. During the same period, Novartis reduced their spending from $24.8 million to $14.8 million. ProPublica states that the sharp drop in payments coincides with the large settlement figures pharmaceutical companies have forked over to the government for their marketing practices, including off-label promotion and allegations of kickbacks to doctors. The website also notes that the mandatory disclosures of the Physician Payments Sunshine Act are likely spurring the change. Members of industry argue that the numbers reflect their marketing needs, not the disclosure laws. Several companies are losing valuable patent protection for their products. "Eli Lilly began facing generic competition to its blockbuster antipsychotic Zyprexa in late 2011," ProPublica states. "Its antidepressant Cymbalta lost its patent at the end of 2013." Pfizer's patent on Lipitor, its top-selling cholesterol drug, expired in 2011. - See more at: http://www.policymed.com/#sthash.M1j45cu5.dpuf

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