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Which Docs Get Paid The Most? Look Here

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By Ed Silverman
October 19th, 2010


An in-depth analysis of the money paid by drugmakers to doctors has been undertaken by ProPublica, which has just published a detailed look that is sorted by company, doctor, state and activities for which docs were compensated.

The database includes payments made by seven drugmakers in 2009 and early 2010 - $257 million went to about 17,700 docs. Although as ProPublica notes, more than 70 companies have yet to publicly disclose their payments but will be required to by 2013 under the federal health care reform law. And existing disclosure are not done so on a uniform basis - travel fees and research payments rarely show up.

To give you a taste of the dollars shelled out, Pfizer paid out nearly $10 million, on average, during the third and fourth quarters of 2009 (see here), and a doctor in Santa Monica, California, was the largest beneficiary (take a look). You can slice and dice by state and company right here.

The list of 384 providers includes two who earned more than $300,000 and another 41 above $200,000 by speaking and consulting for one or more of the seven companies. The top earner, by the way, was Firhaad Ismail, who received $303,558 from several companies (see the top earner list).

Equally interesting, there a number of speakers with limited credentials, state disciplinary actions, criminal convictions, multiple malpractice lawsuits, FDA warning letters or hospital sanctions, according to ProPublica. An example: the Ohio medical board concluded that William Leak had performed “unnecessary” nerve tests on 20 patients and subjected some to “an excessive number of invasive procedures,” including injections of agents that destroy nerve tissue. Just the same, Lilly paid him more than $85,000 since last year as a speaker and adviser (more here).

You can read related stories from other media that worked with ProPublica: The Boston Globe, Consumer Reports, NPR, The Chicago Tribune and PBS.

Photo courtesy of Jerome Kassirer

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