Psychiatrists dominate doc-payment database

The big doctor-payment database launched last week has coughed up an interesting statistic: There are more psychiatrists collecting payments from the pharma industry than any other type of specialist. And psychiatry was the most common specialty among doctors paid more than $100,000 in consulting or speaking fees.

Of the 384 doctors paid more than $100,000, 116 were psychiatrists. That's 30 percent. Medscape Medical News theorizes that more psychiatrists are paid pharma consultants because of the high volume of psychotropic drug sales. Last year, antipsychotics alone topped $14.6 billion, with antidepressants at $9.9 billion, IMS Health data shows.

Adam Linker of the North Carolina Justice Center has a slightly different theory: Psychiatric drugs carry bigger price tags than many other meds. "Some of these drugs are the most expensive," Linker told WFAE radio. "They're some of the best-sellers, and they're driving some of the increases in drug costs. I think drug companies want to keep increasing those prescriptions."

Psychiatrists themselves say that speaking on behalf of drugmakers doesn't sway their prescribing habits. The highest-paid psychiatrist on ProPublica's database, Dr. Roueen Rafeyan, told Medscape that he mostly prescribes generic drugs. "The day I'm influenced by that is the day I'm not fit to practice medicine," Rafeyan said.

- see the WFAE story
- get the piece from Medscape

Suggested Articles

The FDA has granted Amarin's Vascepa a possible blockbuster label expansion for CV risk reduction in patients with or without CV disease.

In a high-stakes patent lawsuit between CAR-T companies Bristol-Myers Squibb and Gilead Sciences, BMS has come up with a victory. 

It’s been a year of ups and downs for Pfizer’s Xeljanz. But the company is hoping to close on a high note, with help from a new extended-release pill.