In April 2010, Pfizer disclosed payments to doctors and other medical professionals for the development, marketing, consulting, representing and sponsorship of its clinical drug trials.
The company spokesperson admitted that they spent a whopping $20 million to 4,500 doctors and other medical professionals in the last six months of 2009. It was the first public accounting of payments to the people who decide which drugs to recommend.
Pfizer also admitted to having paid $15.3 million to 250 academic medical centers and other research groups for clinical trials during the same period.
This disclosure is only about payments made within the United States. This statement was also in line with payment reporting provisions included in the passed healthcare reform legislation during ex-President Barack Obama’s regime.
The law included that drug companies need to publicize how much they pay doctors for consulting and speaking arrangements. Kristen E. Neese, the Pfizer spokeswoman at the time, said it was required by an integrity agreement that the company signed in August 2009 to settle a federal investigation into the illegal promotion of drugs for off-label uses.
“This information tells what our relationships are, so patients can put in the name of their physician (in the website) and see the doctor had a meal which cost this much or a speaking engagement for that much,” Neese said, adding that all types of payments mentioned in the report are legitimate means of fostering the development of drugs and getting “real world” information from the medical community about the products.
Reuters reported that 1,500 healthcare professionals were paid an average of $5,000 each for expert advice, while 2,800 doctors were paid an average of $3,400 in speaking fees to lecture peers about Pfizer’s drugs. According to the pharmaceutical giant, the most highly compensated doctor received about $150,000 during the period.
“Collaboration is essential between healthcare professionals and the pharmaceutical industry to ensure today’s scientific advances truly improve the lives of patients,” said Freda Lewis-Hall, the pharma’s chief medical officer back then.
According to her, Pfizer is committed to ensuring these relationships are transparent to the public and are carefully managed so that they foster trust and sustain their ability to deliver the breakthroughs patients have come to expect from them.
Pfizer said back then that its payment disclosures will become more detailed and transparent. But thereafter, the drug company has still been involved in other fraudulent marketing strategies and campaigns as well as deadly clinical trials.
Dr. Marcia Angell, former editor of the New England Journal of Medicine, said it is good if the Big Pharma companies are actually making these kinds of disclosures public. However, in this case, she “could not help but think something has escaped.”
“I think it’s a good thing to do [to publicize disclosures], but I put absolutely no trust in what drug companies voluntarily disclose to the public when those things are unaudited,” said Eric G. Campbell, lead author of a 2007 study of physician-industry relationships published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
This is because the disclosures were released in fulfillment of a requirement following Pfizer’s $2.3 billion fine and settlement in the summer of 2009 for illegally promoting off-label uses of more than a dozen of its own manufactured drugs.
Also, Pfizer is just doing this because it was mandated by the healthcare reform law passed during that time. Analysts could not help but doubt the pharma firm’s disclosures as it was able to go through years of controversies while squandering billions of dollars. (Related: PHARMA FLASHBACK: Pfizer shelled out $2.3B to settle civil and criminal charges in 2009.)
Check out BigPharmaNews.com to know more about the illegal marketing activities and clinical trials of Big Pharma companies like Pfizer.
Watch the video below that talks about Pfizer paying FDA $2.9 million while their mRNA vaccine was under consideration.
This video is from the Son of the Republic channel on Brighteon.com.