Ed, over at Pharmalot ran an interview with Alan Coukell today, on efforts to get pharma to disclose all the ways it is paying physicians -- and this bit lept out at me:
. . . .One of the things Pfizer is doing that others aren’t doing is reporting payments for clinical research and we welcome that. There’s been concern about a whole array physician and industry financial ties, and while reaearch collaboration is beneficial, we think we need transparency.
Now contrast the Pifzer site with the Merck site. Merck is only disclosing payments for speaking, which leaves a lot of other financial relationships undisclosed. We like the fact you can search the Pfizer site by an individual name, but on the other hand, from the point of view of someone researching this information, you’d like to be able to download a spreadsheet or access a database. . . .
Recall, in early 2008, that legacy Schering-Plough (now renamed New Merck) said its waifish proposed voluntary disclosures obviated the need for a more rigorous piece of sunshine legislation. I'd like to offer the above Alan Coukell pull-quote as Exhibit A -- contra -- that notion. Clearly, the so-called “voluntary disclosures” were more to mollify legislators, than actually enlighten the consuming public, in any appreciable fashion.