Speaker pay curbed for UK doctors, too

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The top 34 UK drug companies paid medical professionals around $64 million dollars last year, for services that included speeches, medical study participation and third-party meeting sponsorships, reports PMLive, which pulled the information from an Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry report.

Last year's total is a slight dip from 2012, when ABPI recorded around $66 million in similar payments.

The fall-off is akin to one seen in the US: a March report by ProPublica showed a decline in spending between 2012 and 2011. Although Sunshine Act disclosure rules may have exerted some pressure on these types of expenditures, the non-profit news outlet also noted that companies had also pulled marketing funding for portfolios with aging patents.

Recent news shows that tracking speakers fees in the future may require more than Sunshine transparency.

For example, GlaxoSmithKline balanced its December announcement that it was axing speakers fees with last month's news that it would make doctors GSK employees.

The significance is that although doctors would be speaking on behalf of GlaxoSmithKline, their pay will not be tagged under the Sunshine Act reporting rules because they are not acting as independent third parties.

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