Stanford U Investigates A Dozen Docs For Taking Pharma Payola

Twelve doctors at Stanford University Medical School are under investigation by the school’s disciplinary board after their names cropped up in a database of docs getting paid big bucks by pharmaceutical companies for speaking gigs, a violation of school policy.

One of the doctors facing sanction was paid $53,000 by Eli Lilly & Co just for speaking at one “Healthcare Professional Education Program” engagement. Another Eli Lilly & Co boy got $109,000 to talk about ADHD drug Strattera.

Their names came out after a ProPublica investigative project put together a trove of 17,000 doctors pharmaceutical companies were paying to deliver speeches to other doctors about their drugs.

The practice is cause for concern because it can create a conflict-of-interest when the doctors recommend drugs to their own patients. It also effectively rents out a doctor’s prestige to talk up certain drugs to their peers.

During these talks the doctors usually read from a script prepared by the drug company and show a series of slides created by the company.

Stanford says they rely on an honor system of voluntary compliance with school policies. They began investigating and asking questions after finding their faculty members’ names in the ProPublica database.

“Some individuals…had understandable reasons for confusion. Others, though, offered explanations why their activities continued that are difficult if not impossible to reconcile with our policy, and here we have concerns,” said the dean of Stanford’s Medical School.

“This is unacceptable, certainly for anyone with a Stanford title.”

To check to see if a doctor is in the ProPublica database, go here.

Dozen Stanford physicians under fire for speaking at gigs paid for by drugmakers [Mercury News] (Thanks to Michael!)

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