Psychiatrists receive most from pharma companies, list shows

November 2, 2010

Psychiatrists dominate a list of physicians who receive the most in payments from pharmaceutical companies, according to a database compiled by investigative journalism group ProPublica.

New York - Psychiatrists dominate a list of physicians who receive the most in payments from pharmaceutical companies, according to a database compiled by investigative journalism group ProPublica.

ProPublica has teamed with other U.S. media outlets to launch the free, interactive database listing physicians who received the most in payments over the past 18 months, Medscape reports.

Labeled “Dollars for Docs” on the ProPublica homepage at www.propublica.org, the database so far includes $258 million in payments made by seven pharma companies to nearly 18,000 physicians.

Some of those companies have been ordered by the Justice Department to disclose physician payments as part of settlement agreements involving illegal drug marketing. ProPublica plans to add 70 more companies to the list. Research firm IMS Health estimates the worth of the total U.S. prescription market in 2009 to be $300.3 billion.

The payments include fees for speaking, consulting, meals and travel, and were compiled, streamlined and tallied by ProPublica.

“Receiving payments isn’t necessarily wrong,” reads the introduction to the “Dollars for Docs” database, “but it does raise ethical issues.”

Psychiatrists led all disciplines in terms of totals received, followed by internal-medicine specialists. A Las Vegas endocrinologist topped the individual list, receiving $303,558 from GlaxoSmithKline, Eli Lilly and Merck.