News: Drug makers to reveal payments to doctors

November 7, 2008

Eli Lilly and Merck announced their plans to release information concerning their payments to physicians for speaking engagements and advisory services.

Eli Lilly & Co. and Merck & Co. announced in September their plans to release information as early as next year concerning their payments to physicians for speaking engagements and advisory services.

The companies also endorsed the Physician Payments Sunshine Act, proposed by Senators Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) and Herb Kohl (D-Wisconsin), which would create a national registry of payments to physicians by medical device, supply, and pharmaceutical companies.

When contacted by Medical Economics, AstraZeneca and Pfizer issued statements in support of the legislation and greater transparency of relationships to physicians, but did not pledge to post their own payment directory. Kurt Ebenhoch, a spokesman for Abbott Laboratories, said the company supports the legislation and is studying whether it is feasible to assemble its own list. Johnson & Johnson did not respond to an inquiry.