Pfizer cuts back on doctor payments

Drug companies such as Pfizer Inc. are cutting back on physician payments.

The investigative reporting group ProPublica said Pfizer has dropped doctor payments from $22 million three years ago to $8.3 million in the most recent period available.

Analysts cited by the blog Fierce Pharma say some cutbacks might be in response to criticism that speaking fees encourage doctors to prescribe drugs for unapproved uses. But other explanations include the paucity of new blockbuster drugs that have to be marketed to primary-care physicians.

ProPublica tracks speaker fees on its site https://projects.propublica.org/docdollars/.

- Lee Howard

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