Drugmakers Put Doctors on Marketing Payrolls

Publication: Buffalo News

Author: Henry L. Davis

02/28/2010 - Like thousands of physicians across the United States, Dr. Ajay Chaudhuri gets paid by pharmaceutical companies to teach doctors and nurses about the latest medications to treat the diseases in his field.

The $79,037 that the Buffalo specialist received from Eli Lilly & Co. to talk at 69 events in the first three quarters of 2009 makes him one of the company's highest earners as a speaker about its products.

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But the fees have come under greater scrutiny, leading some pharmaceutical companies to disclose the payments in recent months. The disclosures reflect growing concern over the financial ties between doctors and industry — everything from gifts of branded pens to free meals to corporate-funded continuing education to major research support.

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Allan Coukell, director of the Pew Prescription Project, gave [the University at Buffalo]'s policy a mixed review, mainly because the new regulations do not ban gifts.

"It's a step in the right direction, but there is no place for gifting in medical schools. It doesn't have anything to do with patient care," he said.

Read the full article Drugmakers Put Doctors on Marketing Payrolls on the Buffalo News' Web site.

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