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Companies Will Disclose Physicians Fees

Eli Lilly and Company became the first major drug maker to commit to physician payment disclosure, representing the newest example of the pharmaceutical industry’s openness about its practices. Now Merck & Company announced it will be releasing such disclosures. Merck sponsored the bill entitled the Physician Payments Sunshine Act which would require such disclosures. Merck announced that it will begin “enhancing transparency of our grants to patient organizations, medical professional societies and independent professional education initiatives.” Merck plans to expand its disclosures to include other grants made by the company. This growing trend has prompted Pfizer and AstraZeneca to back the Sunshine Act. The act calls for firms to declare gifts over $500 a year made to doctors, revised from $25. Additionally, the revised bill reduces fines to $1,000-$50,000 from $10,000-$100,000 per violation. Drug companies typically compensate physicians for medical advice or when they give lectures about there drug products, prompting critics to say that such payments have been encouraging physicians to speak more favorably about the paying drug company’s products. Additionally, the report states that drug makers use educational classes to increase sales. To read the full story, click here.