02/03/2011 - A dozen UC Davis Medical Center doctors and many more in the greater Sacramento area received some $1.1 million from pharmaceutical companies in 2009 and the first half of 2010. Physicians and employers say the relationship is a necessity to marry scientific expertise to corporate innovation. But watchdogs, and even the federal government, are taking a close look at the uncertain relationship between medicine and business.
And by 2013, drug makers will be required to publicly disclose all payments to doctors. In the meantime, watchdog journalism group ProPublica created a national database of payments from seven drug companies to doctors between 2009 and 2010.
Allan Coukell, a pharmacist and director of for Pew Prescription Project, added that gifts from medical companies—a tradition of freebies that includes pens, pill samples and even personalized stethoscopes—are also frowned upon.
So where does this leave the consumer or patient?
Pew’s Coukell advises individuals to stay informed. “Try to have a conversation with your physician and understand where the information is coming from,” he said. “Those that get paid by a company can become a part of the marketing for that company.”
Read the full article Drug Money on The Sacramento News & Review's Web site.