Journalists across the US should be prepared for pharma conflict of interest stories

Liz Kowalczyk of the Boston Globe reports:

At least 60 Massachusetts doctors collectively have earned more than a half-million dollars this year as speakers paid by pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly & Co. - including two Boston Medical Center physicians whose participation is being reviewed for possible violation of a hospital policy against marketing activities by its doctors. ...

Hospital spokeswoman Gina Digravio initially told the Globe last week that the two doctors did not violate the hospital's policy, because they said they "fully determined their presentations.'' The two-year-old rule bars doctors from giving industry-sponsored talks unless the "lecture's content, including slides and written materials, are determined by the clinician.'' Lilly, however, says on its website that it alone provides the information presented by speakers. Spokeswoman Carole Puls said the company provides slides and other materials.

Later in the week, the hospital revised its position, saying, "we have instructed the doctors to refrain from any further presentations pending a review by the medical campus provost.''

As Merrill Goozner points out on his blog, this is:

"a story we should see in abundance if Congress passes the Physician Payments Sunshine Act, which is in the House and Senate versions of health care reform legislation. ...

The story was made possible by the fact that Lilly is one of the first companies to voluntarily list physician payments on its website. Enterprising reporters in other parts of the country should take note, especially as more companies move to put their disclosures online."

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This page contains a single entry by Gary Schwitzer published on September 29, 2009 9:27 AM.

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