South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Doctors' speeches on brand-name drugs can net thousands

Full story and comments can be found here:   

"Boca Raton psychiatrist Donna Holland earned $22,500 in the first three months of this year by making 12 speeches for Lilly...Holland, who sees
children and teens in her private practice, also is a Lilly consultant."

Doctors paid by Lilly can be found here:
In just the first three months of this year, Lilly paid out $22 million to these doctors

    South Florida Sun-Sentinel
    Doctors' speeches on brand-name drugs can net thousands
    Talks on drugs are educational, physician speakers say
    By Bob LaMendola
    September 20, 2009

    Boca Raton psychiatrist Donna Holland spent a day this month in San Antonio
    talking to doctors about the hyperactivity drug Strattera for manufacturer Eli Lilly and

    Her pay for that 45-minute speech: $1,500 plus expenses.

    She's one of 24 doctors in Broward and Palm Beach counties who were paid a total
    of $200,000 in speaking fees from Lilly in the first three months of 2009. Payments
    made to 3,400 doctors nationwide were disclosed as part of a settlement with the
    federal government over the company's illegal marketing practices.

The list casts a spotlight on a widespread, legal but controversial practice of drug and medical companies paying doctors to give speeches about
products to other doctors. Critics, including health experts, members of Congress and some doctors, say the speakers may change the drugs they
prescribe based on who's paying them, and the doctors in the audience are exposed to a sales pitch disguised as teaching...

Holland, who sees children and teens in her private practice, also is a Lilly consultant. She said she told the Texas doctors about research and
clinical trials concerning when to use the drug, which patients should get it, possible complications and side effects, and how to balance risks and

She earned $22,500 in the first three months of this year by making 12 speeches for Lilly...
Lilly last month disclosed its $22 million in payments in the first quarter of this year to the 3,400 doctors who are called the Lilly faculty. The company
paid a $1.4 billion penalty as part of its January settlement with the government...

Virtually all drug companies pay doctors to give speeches about their drugs. This month, Schering-Plough offered some psychiatrists across the
country up to $1,600 a day and $170,000 total to talk about its new psychiatric drug Saphris.

"The only reason the companies hire doctors is to increase sales. They call it education and the doctors call it education, but it's about making
money," said Eric Campbell, a Harvard Medical School professor. "The focus may get away from what is best for the patients."

Payments to doctors are just one type of potential conflict of interest in health care probed by the federally created Institute of Medicine. The panel
recommended halting the speaking payments, saying in its April report that research shows that the payments lead to increased drug sales.

Campbell, a member of the panel, said the speeches drive up health care costs by encouraging doctors to use high priced brand drugs instead of
low-cost generics.

The U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging held hearings over the summer and proposed a bill that would force medical firms to disclose
payments to doctors so patients can see their financial interests.

Physicians are required to get continuing education regularly, and seminars subsidized by drug companies are one way they do so -- often over
dinners and lunches.

Medical suppliers also have shown doctors their products by paying for trips to vacation spots, dinners and tickets to sports and entertainment
events. Staffers often bring food baskets and gifts to physician offices.

The Institute of Medicine panel also recommended tougher restrictions and full disclosure of gifts, payments and other financial ties between industry
and health care professionals...

Fort Lauderdale psychiatrist Armand Braun said he has been making speeches about drugs as a sideline to his practice since 1998. He now makes
speeches for four companies, talking only about drugs he believes in...
"There have been a lot of scandals about this, but it should not taint the whole idea," Braun said...
Schering-Plough's speaking invitation to psychiatrists was made by letter and disclosed by blogger Dr. Daniel Carlat, a Tufts University psychiatrist.
Carlat stopped giving speeches in 2002 and became a loud critic of the practice.

Dr. Adriane Fugh-Berman, whose project at Georgetown University opposes company funding of physician education, said doctors
would not be hired to speak if they did not say what companies want...
Page created 9/20/09
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