Full disclosure: Getting pharma to fess up on its payments to doctors is only part of the drive for that sort of data. Some have been pushing drugmakers to tell how much they're giving to health-related organizations, too. Now, GlaxoSmithKline has announced that it will report its grants to U.S. hospitals, CME companies, patient advocacy groups, professional associations and the like. The reports will come quarterly beginning in February 2009.
GSK's move comes at a time when payments of all sorts are coming under increased scrutiny. Everything from academic research support to doctor speaking fees is coming under the microscope, not only in the media, but in Congressional hearings and in some professional-association research. So drugmakers are taking steps--slowly but surely--toward increased transparency. Criticism of industry-funded CME prompted Pfizer, for instance, to stop paying for any courses offered by for-profit CME companies. Look for more pharma firms to make similar pledges as the year goes on.
--see GlaxoSmithKline's release
--Vote: Should drug and medical device makers be required to report payments made to doctors?