viernes, 29 de abril de 2011

MERCK: Hablar es lo que "importa"...Cuánto?

March 30, 2011,

Merck Paid $20.4 Million in Speaking Fees to U.S. Doctors

By Peter Loftus

Drug maker Merck & Co. paid $20.4 million last year to more than 2,000 U.S. doctors and health-care professionals to discuss the company's products and certain health-care topics with other professionals.

The Whitehouse Station, N.J., company posted the new data on payments to individual physicians on its website this week. The company previously disclosed data for the second half of 2009, when it paid $9.4 million to nearly 1,700 professionals.

The figures, however, don't include speaker programs tied to Schering-Plough, which Merck acquired in November 2009. Merck spokesman Ron Rogers said the work to prepare for the payment disclosures began before the Schering deal closed, and it's still integrating the Schering data.

Merck is among several big drug makers that have begun disclosing physician-payment data in recent years, amid efforts to be more transparent about how they do business. Some companies, including Pfizer Inc., Eli Lilly & Co. and Cephalon Inc., were required to post physician-payment data in connection with settlements of government investigations of allegedly improper marketing practices.

Under last year's U.S. health-care overhaul legislation, drug makers will be required to begin collecting uniform data on physician payments in 2012, and to report the data to the government beginning in 2013; the government plans to make the data available in a publicly searchable database.

Some lawmakers and other critics have accused the drug industry of using payments to unduly influence physician prescribing patterns, or as part of schemes to promote unapproved uses of certain drugs. They have argued that such payments should be disclosed publicly so that patients are aware of any relationships between their doctors and drug manufacturers. (Más)

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