Does Your Doctor Cash in on Drug Company Money?

By Tisha Thompson and Rick Yarborough
|  Monday, Mar 11, 2013  |  Updated 8:04 PM EDT
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Doctors are paid hundreds, even thousands of dollars, by pharmaceutical companies to promote their drugs. Is your doctor one of them? The News4 I-Team reports.

Tisha Thompson & Rick Yarborough

Doctors are paid hundreds, even thousands of dollars, by pharmaceutical companies to promote their drugs. Is your doctor one of them? The News4 I-Team reports.

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Doctors are paid hundreds, even thousands of dollars, by pharmaceutical companies to promote their drugs. Is your doctor one of them?

For years, drug companies have spent millions paying doctors through research grants, travel and meals. But those payments have long been hard to get access to by the general public.

Critics like Georgetown University’s Dr. Adriane Fugh-Berman say doctors who take money can be biased and may end up prescribing a drug made by the company that paid them when there might be a better drug made by a competing company. 

“About one out of five doctors doesn’t see drug reps, and there are many doctors who do not have financial arrangements with companies,”  Dr. Fugh-Berman said.  “And while it still doesn't protect them from tainted information that's in medical journals or at medical meetings, they are much more likely to have good information about drugs if they are not getting that information from companies that make a profit off those drugs.”

The News4 I-Team teamed up with the non-profit group ProPublica to help you find out if your doctor has received any of these payments. CLICK HERE and type in the name of your doctor.  If he or she takes a payment, you’ll see their name and a breakdown by amount and type of payment.

The industry group Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, commonly referred to as PhARMA, represents the pharmaceutical industry. A spokesman told News4 that patients should not jump to conclusions if they find their doctor on the list. Instead, PhARMA says these relationships are important to improving patient care, developing new medicines and keeping doctors up to date with new drugs.

But if you do see your doctor on the list, critics say you should definitely have a conversation with your doctor about what the money was for and if it has any influence on the prescriptions you take.

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