NPR : News

Filed Under:

How To Find Out If Your Doctor And Drugmakers Are In A Relationship

There's a hoary bit of advice in journalism that still gets passed from old-school editors to newbies: "If your mother says she loves you, check it out."

So what about your doctor? The nonprofit investigative journalism outfit ProPublica has a tool you can use to see how much money your doctor has received from drug companies. ProPublica is kind enough to share it for all to use, so I've embedded it in this post. Have at it.

ProPublica has just poured fresh figures into its Dollars for Docs database behind the tool, so you can get a better snapshot than ever before of how much money your doctor has taken drugmakers that publicly disclose the payments. A dozen companies do that now.

Starting next year, every company will have to keep track of payments and gifts to doctors worth more than $10 and report them to the federal government, thanks to a provision in the sweeping health overhaul law enacted last year. In early 2013, the information will be made publicly available on the Web.

In the meantime, ProPublica reports that eight drugmakers paid doctors more than $220 million to give promotional talks about various medicines last year. All told, a dozen companies have paid more than $760 million to doctors and other health professionals for speaking, consulting and other services between 2009 and the second quarter of 2011, according to ProPublica's analysis.

In an editorial, ProPublica reporters Tracy Weber and Charles Ornstein write:

As it stands, doctors don't have to tell you if they're working with the makers of the products they're prescribing you. They don't have to tell you whether they own stock in those companies or do research on their behalf.

Financial interests have the potential to influence what your doctor decides to do or prescribe for you. While the database ProPublica put together won't answer every question you might have, it's a fine place to start.

Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

A Hollywood Animal Trainer's Secrets For Getting Dogs To Act On Cue

Teresa Ann Miller often works with distracted performers, but the Hungarian film White God was especially challenging. "The dogs just thought it was a party," she says of the film's dog-pack scene.
WAMU 88.5

The Democracy Of The Diner

Whether the decor is faux '50s silver and neon or authentic greasy spoon, diners are classic Americana, down to the familiar menu items. Rich, poor, black, white--all rub shoulders in the vinyl booths and at formica counters. We explore the enduring appeal and nostalgia of the diner.

WAMU 88.5

D.C. Council Member David Grosso

D.C. Council Member and Chair of the Committee on Education David Grosso joins us to discuss local public policy issues, including the challenges facing D.C. Public Schools.

NPR

Texting While Walking: Are You Cautious Or Clueless?

People who text while walking change their pace and seem to walk more cautiously, a study says. But that doesn't mean you're not a menace to yourself and others.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.