NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

PSYCHIATRISTS TOP LIST IN DRUG MAKER GIFTS

June 28, 2007

As states begin to require that drug companies disclose their payments to doctors for lectures and other services, a pattern has emerged: psychiatrists earn more money from drug makers than doctors in any other specialty, says Gardiner Harris in the New York Times.

Consider:

  • Vermont officials recently disclosed that drug company payments to psychiatrists in the state more than doubled last year, to an average of $45,692 each from $20,835 in 2005.
  • Overall, drug makers spent $2.25 million on marketing payments, fees and travel expenses to Vermont doctors, hospitals and universities last year, a 2.3 percent increase over the prior year.
  • As in Vermont, psychiatrists earned on aggregate the most in Minnesota, with payments ranging from $51 to $689,000.

How this money may be influencing psychiatrists and other doctors has become one of the most contentious issues in health care.  For instance:

  • The more psychiatrists have earned from drug makers, the more they have prescribed a new class of powerful medicines known as atypical antipsychotics to children, for whom the drugs are especially risky and mostly unapproved.
  • Beyond the danger of such drugs, there is also a large cost component -- antipsychotic medicines are among the largest expenses for the state's Medicaid program, meaning taxpayers may be the ones picking up the cost for the marketed drugs.

Source: Gardiner Harris, "Psychiatrists Top List in Drug Maker Gifts," New York Times, June 27, 2007.

For text:

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/27/health/psychology/27doctors.html 

 

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