Pfizer will disclose payments to health professionals

Pfizer has announced that it plans to make data on payments to healthcare professionals publicly available starting in early 2010, including not only physicians, but also researchers and research sites. The company says that it's the first pharmaceutical firm to report payments for Phase I to IV clinical trials, as well as speaking and consulting.

Pfizer began reporting on non-clinical grants to industry groups in May 2008, including patient, medical and scientific organizations, but this is a step up in transparency for the company, following similar plans by Eli Lilly, Merck and GlaxoSmithKline.

While it hasn't nailed down its guidelines for reporting such payments, Pfizer anticipates disclosing payments which exceed $500 in a calendar year, including non-monetary items (like meals) valued at more than $25. Payments disclosed will include those for consulting, promotional speaking, investigator-initiated research and non-monetary items.

Execs with Pfizer said its plans "reflect the spirit of recent proposed legislation regarding payments to physicians," doubtless in the hopes that it can avoid just such legislation being passed. Sen. Chuck Grassley's "Physician Payment Sunshine Act," which dictates disclosure but imposes tougher rules, would demand more from pharmas than they have offered, including disclosures when yearly payments exceed $100.

To learn more about Pfizer's plans:
- read this Pfizer press release
- read this Wall Street Journal blog item

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