Doctors and hospitals were paid a whopping $35 million by Pfizer Inc. in the second half of last year. According to The Wall Street Journal, the payments to about 4,500 hospitals and doctors, were for the research and promotion of <"http://www.yourlawyer.com/practice_areas/defective_drugs">Pfizer drugs.
The payments were listed on Pfizer’s Web site yesterday. According the Journal, Pfizer said it is the first in the industry to report payments made to doctors and professionals for conducting clinical trials testing potential new drugs.
The database details payments Pfizer made worth $25 or more, and totaling at least $500. About 1,500 healthcare professionals received an average of $5,000 to “provide input and advice about the needs of patients.” Another $2,800 received an average of $3,400 to serve as speakers on Pfizer drugs. Two hundred and fifty research institutions received a total of $15.3 million for help researching and testing new medicines.
A Pfizer spokesperson told Reuters that all types of payments mentioned in its report are legitimate means of fostering development of drugs and getting “real world” information from the medical community about the products. The official said the disclosures are part of an eight-year effort by Pfizer to become more transparent in how it conducts clinical trials, pays for them and interacts with doctors, and goes beyond those recently established by other companies because Pfizer has included information on payments for clinical trials.
Pfizer’s new disclosure effort comes just months after the drug maker struck an agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice to pay $2.3 billion to settle claims arising from the illegal marketing of some drugs, including the painkiller Bextra; Geodon, an anti-psychotic drug; Zyvox, an antibiotic; and Lyrica, an anti-epileptic drug. Among the charges covered by the settlement were allegations that Pfizer paid kickbacks to health care providers to induce them to prescribe these, as well as other, drugs.
According to Reuters, Pfizer said its payment disclosures will become more detailed next year, under a corporate integrity agreement that was part of that settlement. At that time, Pfizer will begin making reports on a quarterly basis, and include the value of all financial interactions, including those below $25, and non-monetary items such as educational items.