SPECIAL REPORT: Doctors & Drug Companies
Updated: Thursday, February 21 2013, 10:08 AM EST
COLUMBUS -- Pharmaceutical companies are posting payments made to doctors for services like speaking engagements, research, food and travel, all in anticipation of the Sunshine Law going into effect later this year. That law, which is part of the Affordable Care Act, will create a database patients can check which shows all the payments above $10 pharmaceutical companies make to doctors.
For some, the idea of drug companies paying doctors makes them feel uncomfortable.
"Their ethical professionalism is tainted by having pharmaceutical industry influence," said Cathy Levine, Executive Director of University Health Care Action Network of Ohio.
But Columbus rheumatology specialist, Dr. Joseph Flood disagrees. He is one of many Columbus doctors who have been paid several thousand dollars by drug companies over the years for speaking engagements about its products.
"All drugs have benefits and side effects," Dr. Flood said. "And it's my job as a lecturer to put those into balance. To make sure physicians understand that for all the good a drug has, there may be some drawbacks."
Dr. Flood says in his opinion, most doctors who are paid by pharmaceutical companies do it ethically.
"All of my prescribing habits are private," Dr. Flood said. "So the American Medical Association offers a service that precludes the pharmaceutical community or its surrogates from knowing what your prescribing habits are. So there's not a quid-pro-quo. You speak for me, I prescribe your medicines. I would never do that. That's against everything I am as a person."
But Levine is not convinced.
" The doctors do need the education to do better prescribing, but they need to get it from pharmacists, not from the pharmaceutical industry," Levine said.
Now patients will be able to decide for themselves.
To see if your doctor was paid by Pfizer you can check here: http://www.pfizer.com/responsibility/working_with_hcp/payments_report.jsp
Eli Lilly: http://www.lillyphysicianpaymentregistry.com/Payments-to-Physicians/Current-Registry
Reporter: Adam Aaro
Web Producer: Kellie Hanna