Of the more than 1,730 California physicians who received money from pharmaceutical companies over the past 21 months, about 48 have faced disciplinary action, according to a database compiled by the investigative news organization ProPublica, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
ProPublica's database includes payments to doctors and other health workers from seven drug companies that disclosed payments, which are:
- Eli Lilly;
- Johnson & Johnson;
- Merck; and
In 2009 and 2010, the seven companies paid more than $281.9 million to physicians across the country for promoting their products, according to ProPublica.
The payments include $6.7 million to 290 physicians who have faced disciplinary action or other sanctions in various states.
According to the database, California physicians have received $28.6 million from the seven drug companies since 2009. Three California doctors have collected more than $200,000 each and 36 others have received more than $100,000 each for promoting pharmaceutical products, according to ProPublica.
Although less than 3% of the California physicians who receive drug company funds have faced disciplinary action, the findings raise concerns about how rigorously drug companies screen their physician spokespeople, the Chronicle reports.
Drug Firms Respond
Officials from several drug companies have told ProPublica that they plan to strengthen their process for screening and selecting physician representatives (Colliver, San Francisco Chronicle, 11/18).