Harvard docs get paid for being on pharma speakers bureaus

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I know, stop the presses, right? The Boston Globe is continuing to delve into the relationships between physicians and pharma with a series of stories beginning on today's front page about which docs are being paid what to serve on pharma speakers bureaus. Not surprisingly, Harvard Medical School docs scored the motherlode for Massachusetts, having received 45 percent of the $6.3 million this year and last by the companies that are posting payments publicly for at least some of that time period (the payments also were for research and consulting, in addition to serving on speaker bureaus).

Here's another related article from today's Globe: Doctors with questionable records earn a lot as drug firms’ speakers. It's kind of strange to see the two together, I thought. (Here's a longer version on the site of ProPublica, which developed the database all this is spinning out of. Lots of interesting info to go through, including a state-by-state breakdown, here.)

If you think this is a feeding frenzy, just wait until the Sunshine Act kicks in in 2013 and all pharma companies will be required to report all per-physician spending of more than $10.

P.S. Here's the Chicago version, via the Chicago Tribune: Watchdog: Dollars for Doctors. This one is interesting -- they asked the 25 docs who make the most from pharma speaker bureau gigs to comment on their activities.

Update: And here's the Denver version. I was talking with someone today about this, and they thought no one else was picking up on this story. My take was that reporters all over the country are madly crunching their state's numbers. I'm guessing there will be 47 more of these coming in the next few days.

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