16 January 2012

Views about news: Federal government mandates pharmaceutical companies to disclose drug payments

The New York Times reports:
To head off medical conflicts of interest, the Obama administration is poised to require drug companies to disclose the payments they make to doctors for research, consulting, speaking, travel and entertainment.
 I was quite excited until I read this sentence:
Companies will be subject to a penalty up to $10,000 for each payment they fail to report. A company that knowingly fails to report payments will be subject to a penalty up to $100,000 for each violation, up to a total of $1 million a year.
To a pharmaceutical company, $1 million is nothing. A $1 million penalty per year translates to $250,000 a quarter. Pfizer reported 2011 third-quarter earnings of $3.74 billion.

If you wish to read up on the pharmaceutical industry's influence on medical practice, I recommend White Coat, Black Hat or The Truth about the Drug Companies.