Friday, March 15, 2013

Big Pharma payouts get their close up


Chances are, your family physician hasn’t received $500,000 for speaking fees by big pharmaceutical.

According to an excellent article by Salon, however, many influential doctors do see their bottom lines enriched by companies that have an interest in miracle drugs and devices being either prescribed or required for use.

Doctors who sit on quasi-government boards that push for things like requiring commercial drivers be tested for sleep apnea, for instance, are a valuable target, Salon says.

As it turns out, comprehensive reform of America’s medical system will bring a new layer of transparency into the murky world of drug and device makers and payments to physicians.

Derided as “Obamacare” by some, the Affordable Care Act will do something all Americans should applaud. It will expose financial ties between Big Pharma (and Big Sleep) and the doctors who take an oath to “do no harm.”

According to Salon, beginning next year, pharmaceutical companies and medical device manufacturers will be required to publicly report what they pay physicians who pimp their products. Companies that pay six-figure speaking fees and other marketing to physicians will report those expenditures to a federal database.

As Land Line has reported in the past, ties run deep between Big Sleep and advisory boards like the FMCSA Medical Review Boards, which has indicated a willingness to require expensive testing for drivers.

While medical and insurance industries adjust to the ACA’s new provisions, truck drivers will be able to see who is influencing these decision makers. It’s good to see a law bring transparency to one of our nation’s wealthiest and most powerful industries.