AstraZeneca joins doc-disclosure movement

AstraZeneca is the latest drugmaker to leap on the doc-disclosure bandwagon. Joining Merck, Eli Lilly, GlaxoSmithKline and others, AstraZeneca says it's gong to report speaking fees to doctors and other healthcare professionals. "AstraZeneca believes it is important to be open about how we conduct our business," said Rich Fante, the company's U.S. pharma president. "In particular, we want the public to better understand how we partner with healthcare professionals to benefit patients."

The disclosure will be a long time coming, though. The company says it will post its speaking fees online beginning in 2010, and every six months thereafter. And AstraZeneca's news release doesn't specify just how much detail these reports will contain. Will doctors be mentioned by name? Will specific amounts be included?

Giving AstraZeneca its due, this latest disclosure plan is one in a series of recent transparency efforts. The company also is planning-- or already has begun--to share info on its political contributions, medical education grants, donations to nonprofit groups, clinical trials and post-marketing studies, among others.

- read the release from AstraZeneca