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Doctors get millions from the pharmaceutical industry
Pharmaceutical companies apparently pay doctors generous amounts for lectures, hotel stays or application observations. As reported by the “Correctiv” research center, 575 million euros flowed to more than 71,000 doctors and medical institutions in Germany last year. Some of the payees can now be researched by name in an Internet database.
54 groups disclose payments
There has never been anything like this: At the end of June, 54 pharmaceutical companies disclosed for the first time how much money they were paying to doctors in Germany. According to the “Correctiv” portal, more than 71,000 doctors, members of specialist circles and medical facilities received EUR 575 million last year. Almost a third of these doctors have given their consent that the payments received may go public. Now, after a joint evaluation of the data, journalists from “Correctiv” and “Spiegel Online” have published a database for the first time, in which there are 20,489 of the physicians who received grants from pharmaceutical companies in 2015. Every Internet user can search for specific doctors by name, city and postcode, the message said.
Individuals receive up to 200,000 euros for training and lectures
According to the information, a doctor from Essen, who received more than 200,000 euros for lectures, training, consultancy fees and expenses, was in first place among the known payees. Other places followed by a Bonn doctor with 148,000 euros and a Bochum diabetologist with 128,000 euros. According to the research, the largest sum (12.2 million) came from all pharmaceutical companies from the pharmaceutical company "Novartis".
According to the research center, a total of 119 million euros were paid by pharmaceutical companies for lectures, advanced training and travel expenses to doctors last year - these donations alone gave each of the doctors an average of 1646 euros, the message said. In addition, there would be 366 million euros in fees for application observations and other medical studies, and 90 million euros would also go to medical facilities, e.g. for sponsorship, foundations and donations.
Doctors consider themselves incorruptible
Two thirds of the doctors did not agree to the disclosure of their names - which, according to the Mainz doctor and psychotherapist Klaus Lieb, is unfortunate: "Transparency looks different," said the director of the Clinic for Psychiatry and Psychotherapy at the University of Mainz, according to the research center. Lieb is one of the experts in Germany who is concerned with the impact of payments from pharmaceutical companies - a topic that experts have been debating for years. Most doctors assume that they are not bribed - "Correctiv" continues to report, even if they receive grants from the industry. “We doctors have a blind spot when it comes to conflicts of interest. We are invited by the pharmaceutical industry and still believe that we are independent, ”says Klaus Lieb.
Close contact with industry leads to more prescriptions
Lieb was able to show in a study published in the journal "Plos One" that medical professionals who often visit pharmaceutical officers also prescribe more drugs. "What's more, doctors who go on pharmacy-sponsored training courses prescribe higher-priced drugs on average," explains the expert. Doctors who are in close contact with the pharmaceutical industry would put the advantages of medication in the foreground and play down the risks: "There is now a very good database for all of these findings," says Lieb, according to the research center. (No)