In a sprawling investigation undertaken with five major news outlets, ProPublica has discovered that the pharmaceutical industry often pays doctors to promote brand-name drugs to their peers in order to boost sales. While drug companies insist that they hire the most respected doctors to do such work, ProPublica “found hundreds of doctors on company payrolls who had been accused of professional misconduct, were disciplined by state boards, or lacked credentials as researchers or specialists.”
The nonprofit investigative news outlet has also published lists that disclose which doctors across the nation are receiving payments from pharmaceutical companies, including more than 400 doctors in Colorado.
There are a couple caveats, however: Receiving a payment doesn’t mean a health professional has done anything wrong, and the lists only disclose information from seven drug companies (more than 70 other companies have yet to make public information concerning their payments). The health-care-reform law requires drug companies to begin reporting all payments made to doctors to the federal government by 2013.