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List Tells Patients if Doctor Was Paid to Prescribe Drugs

| Nov 19, 2010

The next time you fill a prescription, you may want to check if your doctor has been paid to recommend the drug.

ProPublica, a non-profit, independent newsroom, and National Public Radio are revealing that many doctors are paid by large pharmaceutical companies to promote their drug, without being specialized on the topic.

Dollars for Docs , the result of the joint investigation between ProPublica and NPR, illustrates the massive financial scope of the relationship pharmaceutical companies cultivate with the medical community.

The report compiles the names of 17,000 doctors working for seven major drug companies in an online searchable database that allows patients to determine if their personal physicians are being paid to promote the drugs they are prescribing.

The seven companies -- Johnson & Johnson, Lilly, Cephalon, AstraZeneca, Merck, Pfizer, and GlaxoSmithKline -- have paid physician consultants more than $257.8 million since 2009 for teaching, speaking, and other duties. Hundreds of those doctors, however, have been disciplined by their state medical boards, have faced accusations of professional misconduct, or have insufficient credentials as specialists or researchers.

Of those listed, 384 have received more than $100,000 in just the past year and a half, roughly $5,000-$6,000 a month.

As a North Charleston personal injury lawyer , I find this report interesting. In 2009, the top 15 pharmaceutical giants in the U.S. controlled 68 percent of the market for prescription drugs. These doctor contributes should not be a secret. Money can often sway decisions, but it should not sway decisions when it's related to the public's health.

If you feel that you've been the victim of a medical malpractice case you should consult with a personal injury lawyer in Columbia to find out how you can protect your rights.

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