Health Inc.

Glaxo Discloses Doctor Payments For First Time

All the pressure on drugmakers to fess up publicly about the money they pay doctors is, er, paying off.

Sunshine enters the window of a dark, smoky room.

hide captionThere's a lot more light on the money doctors get from drug companies these days.

iStockphoto.com

Just take a look at GlaxoSmithKline's first-ever report on how much it forked over to U.S. doctors and other health professionals for speaking and consulting gigs. For the three months ending in June, the drug maker paid $14.6 million to about 3,700 people, or an average of about $3,900.

Besides disclosing the payments, Glaxo previously pledged to cap them at $150,000 per doc per year.

The 121-page list (posted as a PDF) isn't the easiest way to present all the data. But it wasn't that hard for us to find out that our internist and the doctors in our family weren't getting any money from the company, for better or worse.

Will the data be made easier to crunch in the future? Maybe. A Glaxo spokeswoman tells us the main focus was to get the report done and published. It's the first time the company has put the information together this way and made it publicly available.

Glaxo has been reporting the money it pays to hospitals, universities and charitable groups a little longer. The latest version of that report is here.

Other drug makers including Merck, Eli Lilly and Pfizer are also making similar disclosures or have said they will make start doing so fairly soon.

Has a sense of altruism led to the surge of sunshine? Perhaps. Then again, there's nothing like the potential for detailed mandatory disclosure, now included in the Senate overhaul bill, to bring a sense of urgency to the task.

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