Drug Makers to Report Physician Payments

November 1, 2008
Cortney Mears

Volume 25, Issue 13

Pharmaceutical giants Eli Lilly and Merck recently announced that beginning in 2009 they will publicly disclose information about payments made to doctors.

Pharmaceutical giants Eli Lilly and Merck recently announced that beginning in 2009 they will

publicly disclose information about payments made to doctors. Although it is unclear what information will be disclosed, John Lechleiter, chief executive of Lilly, confirmed that his firm will “likely include” the names of doctors or some other identifying information and the reason for payments to them. Merck, on the other hand, said that it would disclose the speaking fees it pays to doctors.

Members of Congress have been pressing for a national registry that discloses the payments that doctors receive from pharmaceutical companies. The Physician Payments Sunshine Act, a bipartisan bill, is expected to be taken up by Congress next year, with support from the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, the AMA, and a number of drug makers, including Pfizer.

Beginning in 2009, Lilly will disclose payments made to physicians who serve as speakers and advisors for the company. The registry will expand in 2011 to resemble the requirements under the Sunshine Act.

In a New York Times article regarding the Lilly disclosures, Senator Charles Grassley (R, Iowa), who has headed the recent investigations of physicians and disclosure of pharmaceutical affiliations, said “this announcement contributes to transparency,” but that he would continue his investigations because a “uniform reporting requirement is needed to get the full picture.”