Fewer Harvard faculty speak on pharma's behalf

Harvard doctors and researchers aren't as active on the pharma speaking circuit these days. As the Harvard Crimson reports, based on an analysis of ProPublica data, Massachusetts doctors collected fewer speaking fees from drugmakers in recent quarters. And some have backed out of speakers' bureaus altogether.

As the Boston Globe reports, Eli Lilly's ($LLY) speaker fees in Massachusetts dropped to $866,910 in 2010 from $1.6 million in 2009. GlaxoSmithKline's ($GSK) speaking fees fell to $884,850 from $1.2 million.

The Crimson attributes the decline in pharma payments to new conflicts-of-interest policies that restrict relationships between doctors and researchers on one side and industry on the other. Harvard Medical School recently instituted a new policy after congressional investigators found high-profile faculty had failed to disclose financial ties with pharma per university rules. The new Harvard rules prohibit faculty from accepting personal gifts and from giving industry-sponsored talks when materials are prepared by the company, and it limits industry compensation to $10,000.

"It's not surprising that, as institutions such as Harvard say that these doctors and researchers shouldn't be participating in these kind of speaking engagements, that doctors obey them," Eric Campbell, a Harvard Medical School associate professor who studies the interaction of medical professionals and the healthcare industry, told the Crimson, adding, "Doctors no longer assume it is their right and duty to accept these perks from industry."

- see the Crimson coverage
- get more from the Boston Globe