Professional News
Lilly, Merck to Disclose Physician Payments
Psychiatric News
Volume 43 Number 20 page 4-4

Eli Lilly and Co. and Merck and Co. have announced plans to publicly disclose payments to U.S. physicians beginning in 2009.

John Lechleiter, Ph.D., president and chief executive officer of Lilly, announced on September 24 that the company will establish an online registry of its payments to physicians who serve as speakers and consultants for the company. The registry will become available for public access as early as the second half of 2009 and will be updated annually with the previous year's payment information, according to the announcement.

A day later, Merck announced its plan to follow Lilly's example and disclose payments to physician speakers beginning in 2009.

This policy echoes the Physician Payments Sunshine Act, proposed by Sens. Herbert Kohl (D-Wis.) and Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), which would mandate a national registry of physicians who receive payments, including gifts and travel, valued at more than $25 from pharmaceutical and medical-device companies, as well as disclosure of other types of financial relationships between industry and medicine.

Although Congress has not yet passed the measure, several major companies, including Lilly, Pfizer, Merck, and Johnson and Johnson, have publicly endorsed it. Lilly said it plans to make its physician payment registry compliant with the current requirements in the bill by 2011.

In response to increasing scrutiny of potential conflicts of interest between industry and physicians and calls for greater transparency, some companies are instituting new policies to address their relationship with physicians. Both Lilly and AstraZeneca have begun to post the distribution of their medical educational grants, including funding for continuing education for health care professionals, on company Web sites. Merck said it would begin to post this information in October. ▪

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