GlaxoSmithKline plans to disclose payments to US physicians and impose a cap of $150,000 per year, per doctor, but details of the disclosure scheme are still being worked out.
GSK CEO Andrew Witty outlined the cap-and-publish policy to The Financial Times in October: “It's appropriate that we have a limit on what we pay. In the past, whatever has happened, has happened, but in the future there will be strict adherence to these caps, which will be clearer to everybody.”
Pressed for specifics, GSK said in a statement that it is “committed to making information about physician payments publicly available in the US. We are urgently undertaking a review of our internal processes to determine the best way to efficiently and accurately collect this information. We will be putting a process in place to ensure this information can be reported as soon as possible.”
The company's payments to Emory University's Dr. Charles Nemeroff, a prominent psychiatrist, were the subject of a recent investigation by Sen. Charles Grassley's Committee on Finance. Nemeroff resigned his position as chair of the university's psychiatry department after it was revealed that he had underreported fees from GSK.
Earlier in October, it was reported that the Dutch health inspectorate raided the offices of GSK and Sanofi-Aventis over alleged payments to physicians advising the government on health policy issues – including vaccinating girls against cervical cancer. GSK makes the Cervarix HPV vaccine, while Sanofi is handling European commercialization of Merck's Gardasil.
GSK noted that the disclosure policy, which would apply only to payments to US physicians, is irrelevant to the Dutch investigation.