Physician Bailout: On Average, Pharma Pays Every US Physician Over $750 Per Year

Pharma Marketing Blog

September 8, 2011

The pharmaceutical industry has been very generous in making payments to physicians. Last year (2010), for example, just12 pharmaceutical companies paid $760 million to physicians and other health care providers for consulting, speaking, research and expenses, according to ProPublica’s “” project. ProPublica has taken “translucent” — ie, difficult to analyze — data reported by pharmaceutical companies and created a single database that makes comparisons simple (see here).

The database contains information about payments made to about 500,000 doctors. That’s about half of ALL doctors in the US (including Peurto Rico). That works out to about $1,520 per doctor (or about $760 per EVERY doctor in the US), on average.

Of course, some doctors were paid MUCH more than this — eg, pain specialist Gerald M. Sacks raked in $270,825 from Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, Lilly and Cephalon in 2010, up from $225,575 in 2009. And some doctors were treated to a mere $50 lunch, although “at least 20 doctors….received meals worth $2000 or more from Pfizer between July 2009 and March of this year,” said ProPublica reporter Charles Ornstein.

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