Merck unveils $3.7M in doc-payment data

Big Pharma's march toward doc-disclosure proceeds apace. Merck posted its first list of speaking fees paid to doctors and other health professionals, detailing some $3.7 million in payments for the third quarter. On average, Merck paid 1,078 speakers $1,548, the Associated Press calculates. But the top-paid doc raked in more than $22,000, and a dozen were paid at least $17,000. 

For comparison's sake, we looked back at Eli Lilly's first doc-payment posting; the top-paid doc on Lilly's list earned $70,050 and its second-highest paid got $68,400. Plus, the total of first-quarter payments reached $22 million, compared with Merck's $3.7 million.

We'll soon get more drugmaker numbers to compare and contrast; GlaxoSmithKline says it's joining the disclosure club soon, and so is Pfizer. And as you may also recall, not all these companies are doing the disclosure thing voluntarily. Some were compelled to start detailing their doc payments as part of off-label marketing settlements.

- see the release from Merck
- read the Merck payment list
- check out the AP story

Editor's note: This story was updated on October 21, 2009.