Lilly to post registry of physician payments

Lilly CEO John Lechleiter
Lilly CEO John Lechleiter
Lilly announced plans to broaden its transparency efforts to include publicly disclosing payments to US physicians as well as grants.

The company will launch an online registry of physician payments next year, Lilly president and CEO John Lechleiter told the Economic Club of Indiana. Lilly began making clinical trials and clinical trials data public in 2004 and last year led the industry in disclosing CME grants and other contributions with a quarterly report posted online. Other companies, including Pfizer, AstraZeneca and most recently, GlaxoSmithKline, have followed suit with similar programs.

Lilly is again out in front of the industry with its plan to make public physician payments, which could be posted as early as the second half of 2009 and will initially include 2009 payments to physicians who serve as speakers and advisors to Lilly. By 2011, the registry will be expanded to resemble that called for under the Physician Payments Sunshine Act, legislation currently moving through Congress for which Lilly was an early supporter.

“With each of our industry firsts, from launching our clinical trials registry to the public reporting of educational grants, Lilly is striving to be a leader in improving transparency across our industry,” said Lechleiter in a statement. “As Lilly continues to look for more ways to be open and transparent about our business, we've learned that letting people see for themselves what we're doing is the best way to build trust.”

The move drew praise from Sen. Herb Kohl (D-WI), chairman of the Senate Special Committee on Aging and co-sponsor, with Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), of the Senate version of the Sunshine Act.

“Eli Lilly is leading the charge for transparency in the relationship between pharmaceutical companies and doctors by fulfilling the obligations of the Physician Payments Sunshine Act before it has been enacted,” said Kohl. “It takes a lot of courage to be the first. They have made a principled decision that I believe will benefit both their business and the consumers of their products.”