ProPublica looks at the Rx-$ nexus

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Non-profit journo outfit ProPublica found that at least 17 of the top 20 prescribers of beta blocker Bystolic in Medicare's prescription drug program in 2010 had also been paid by Forest for promotional talks.

Nine of the top 10 prescribers of Alzheimer's drug Exelon received money from Novartis, and eight of the top 10 for J&J painkiller Nucynta were paid speakers, as were six of the top 10 for Pfizer antidepressant Pristiq.

The data used came from the Dollars for Docs tool, which includes payments from 15 drug makers, as well as its new ­Prescriber Checkup, which has data on prescribing in Medicare Part D.

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