Talking With Your Doctor About Pharmaceutical Company Payments
Preparing for Your Conversation
ProPublica's Dollars for Docs database lets people search for payments to healthcare professionals made by 15 pharmaceutical companies, which account for about 47 percent of U.S. drug sales. The database includes the following payment record:
- Payee: THE REGENTS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, LOS ANGELES
- Amount paid: $499,043
- Company paying: Pfizer
- Payment for: Pfizer sponsored research initiated before July 1, 2009
- Location: LOS ANGELES, Calif.
- Reported: Jan. to Dec. 2011
Send this link to your doctor
If your doctor would like a link to this payment information in our database, send them to .
Pfizer produces the following notable drugs:
- BeneFIX (hemophilia)
- Celebrex (arthritis pain and inflammation, acute pain)
- Chantix (smoking cessation)
- Effexor XR (depression and certain anxiety disorders)
- Lyrica (epilepsy, post-herpetic neuralgia and diabetic, peripheral neuropathy, fibromyalgia)
- Premarin family (menopause)
- Pristiq (depression)
- Sutent (late-stage kidney cancer, gastrointestinal stromal tumor)
- Viagra (erectile dysfunction)
- Zyvox (bacterial infections)
Research payments are distinct from speaking and consulting. Payments for clinical studies may include costs associated with patient care, supplies, as well as the time spent by health care professionals treating patients and managing the study. The figure listed does not reflect the actual compensation received by the physician listed as the principal investigator.
ProPublica last downloaded this record on Nov. 28, 2012, and includes the name of the health provider who performed the service and, when reported, the entity paid. They may be different.
Things to keep in mind before speaking to your doctor
- Many healthcare professionals in our database have similar names, so you should start by asking your doctor if the person mentioned in this payment record is really him/her.
- Pharmaceutical companies make payments for many reasons, from research to speaking to consulting. They payments are legal, but studies show they can influence a doctor's prescribing decisions.
- Your doctor may not know he or she is listed in Dollars for Docs, especially if the payments are small.
Questions to Ask
Questions you might want to ask your healthcare professional
- What are the specific circumstances of this payment?
- What is your current relationship with this drug company?
- What drugs have you prescribed me that are manufactured by companies you've taken payments from?
- Are there non-drug alternatives that I may want to consider first?
- Are there less expensive generic alternatives to the drugs you have prescribed?
For additional information on Pfizer's notable drugs
Pfizer provides a list of all of its drugs at http://www.pfizer.com/products/#D. To read how Pfizer describes its relationship with healthcare professionals, read more at: http://www.pfizer.com/responsibility/working_with_hcp/payments_to_hcp.jsp.