GlaxoSmithKline reveals speaker, consulting fees

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GlaxoSmithKline said it paid nearly $15 million in fees in the second quarter to US healthcare professionals for speaking and consulting services.

A 121-page report posted by the Anglo firm in December highlights amounts given to 3,700 KOLs and other providers. Payees received $3,909 on average. The highest-paid recipient on the list was a specialist in rheumatology-allergy and immunology at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, who received $99,375.

Such fees are often made in exchange for talks or consulting services in therapeutic areas that coincide with a company's marketed products. GSK's asthma/COPD treatment Advair Diskus was the fourth best-selling drug in the US in 2008, according to IMS Health. Deirdre Connelly, GSK's president North America pharmaceuticals, said: “These are professionals who should be fairly compensated for the services and expertise they provide. There are strict guidelines about how we work together.”

GSK and other drug firms have been drawing back the curtain on payments to doctors ahead of legislation that could make such disclosures mandatory.

As of press time, both the healthcare reform bill that cleared the House last year and the Senate bill include language meant to increase public disclosure of payments.

Earlier this year, Eli Lilly became the first major drug company to provide a detailed list of consulting and speaker fees when it posted its faculty registry, disclosing $22 million in first-quarter compensation paid to almost 3,400 US physicians and other healthcare professionals.

Next up was Merck, which said it shelled out $3 million in speaker fees to US doctors during the second quarter.

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