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Special Report: Dollars for Docs

Updated: Friday, August 2 2013, 10:23 PM EDT
Special Report: Dollars for Docs story image
A non profit investigative newsroom has found a number of doctors are making big money from drug companies.  Pro-Publica assembled a data base of payments from major drug companies to doctors who were paid for speaking engagements since 2009.  Critics say the payments amount to advertising and may have an influence over doctor's drug prescribing habits.

The American Psychiatric Association says the payouts are mind boggling, as much as a million dollars for one doctor.  A.P.A. chief executive Dr. James Scully says "paid speaking is perfectly legal." But he also adds, "everybody needs to be clear, this is marketing."

Some doctors and patients fear doctors accepting speaking arrangements and payments could be influenced by the drug companies to prescribe their products, whether they're the most appropriate drug or not.  One of the biggest drug companies, Pfizer, says "Pfizer values its interactions with health care professionals and believes that these collaborations lead to meaningful and productive dialogue, scientific insights, and improved medicines for patients. In March 2010, Pfizer became among the first pharmaceutical companies to publicly post payments and transfers of value to U.S. health care professionals on, including those for speaking and professional advising services. This commitment to openness and transparency reflects our unwavering belief that providing this information enables better understanding of the nature and value of these collaborations."

Special Report: Dollars for Docs
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