Huge Sums of Money Flow from Pharmaceutical Companies to Doctors
More than $760 million have been given by several drug companies to doctors and other healthcare providers over the past two years. The sales of these companies comprise 40% of the U.S. market.
These numbers came from Pro Publica, a non-profit journalism organization, which collated and continues to update a database on the payments.
According to Pro Publica, the payments are for consulting, research, speaking and expenses on the part of the health providers.
The journalism organization also noted that pharmaceutical companies have traditionally been very quiet about those payments, but “Over the past two years, companies have begun posting this information on their websites, some as the result of legal settlements with the federal government.”
Pro Publica also pointed out “Federal law requires that all companies publicly report this data beginning in 2013. That information will be posted on a government website.”
With magnificent amounts of money flying around, some observers say that it can potentially compromise the quality of care offered by providers.
According to Dr. John Santa, the head of the Consumer Reports Health Ratings Center, this is possible.
Santa, in a television interview, said, “Money works. Doctors are human. Doctors who take money from drug companies are more likely to give you an expensive drug or more likely to give you a drug you may not need.”
The latest Consumer Reports survey had 72% of the respondents saying that they believe drug companies have too much influence on the drugs being prescribed by doctors.
In the same survey, 85% of the respondents said that they were concerned about pharmaceutical companies rewarding doctors who prescribe their drugs. Another 76% said that they are concerned about health providers giving testimonials or serving as a spokesperson for a particular drug.