We’ve been hearing a lot about how pharma companies are curbing their spending on speakers bureaus, the practice of companies paying physicians to give drug-geared talks to other physicians. Just this week, Pharmalot reported on a survey that showed 71 percent of drugmakers say they have established annual compensation caps on what they will pay individual physicians, many focused on the speaking engagements. The caps, Pharmalot reports, vary widely between companies: $10,000 to $100,000 per physician per year.
And then, there was the ice cream incident earlier this fall, where some companies – notably Schering-Plough — made a showy point of keeping refreshments out of the hands of doctors at a Boston convention, suggesting the Massachusetts gift ban and disclosure law enacted this summer had ended an era of unnecessary marketing to doctors, and ushered in a new one of thorough, if exaggerated, compliance.
But from the looks of this photo, sent in by an alert reader at Logan International Airport in Boston this week, such voluntary caps and Massachusetts’ gifts and disclosure law may not be curtailing physician marketing payments like speakers bureaus as much as industry would like us to think — at least not at the arrivals gate.
–Kate Petersen, PostScript blogger