BY DAVID YOUNG • DavidYoung@coloradoan.com • November 28, 2010
For anyone who doubts that big pharma is big business, a new database reveals seven pharmaceutical companies shelled out $282 million to health-care providers around the country in the last two years, including eight in Fort Collins, to advance their products.
ProPublica, an independent nonprofit news organization, developed a comprehensive data base detailing payments from seven large pharmaceutical companies to health-care providers in 2009 and 2010.
The seven companies had $109 billion in annual sales in 2009, about 36 percent of market share.
The seven local doctors and one nurse received $74,423 for everything from “health-care professional education programs” to “speaker compensation” from six different medical companies, according to the data base.
Colorado providers received more than $5,1 million spread among 447 payments, according to the database.
Accepting payments from pharmaceutical companies is legal, but it is becoming more controversial, raising ethical concerns.
Doctors maintain the money doesn’t influence their prescription decisions, but critics say there should be no pay for play.
Drug companies paid out more than $74,000 to the eight local providers for speaking engagements and educational programs.
To create the data base, ProPublica compiled 17,700 speakers and consultants for seven major drug companies matching names against lists of sanctioned physicians in the 30 most populous states and warning letters issued by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
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