Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Real Scoop

Vermont Attorney General William Sorrell released a report on pharmaceutical marketing efforts in Vermont on July 8, 2008. See the report here. Media has been reporting the aggregate amounts that psychiatrists earned the most money from these payments. Eleven psychiatrists received roughly 20 % of these funds. However, the second largest aggregate amount went to cardiologists. Two cardiologists shared payouts of $312,898, or an average of $156,440 each, no small potatoes.

An interesting finding is the medications that were promoted. The top ten medications promoted were the following:

1. Strattera (ADHD)
2. Metadate CD (ADHD)
3. Januvia (Type 2 Diabetes)
4. Lexapro (Depression)
5. Cymbalta (Depression)
6. Lantus (Diabetes)
7. Seroquel (Bi-Polar Disorder and Schizophrenia)
8. Namenda (Alzheimer’s)
9. Vytorin/Zetia (Cholesterol)
10. Benicar (Hypertension)

The top five spenders in Vermont on marketing (accounting for 56% of the total amount spent or $1,756,150.56) during FY 07 were:
1. Eli Lilly and Company
2. Pfizer, Inc.
3. UCB, Inc.
4. Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation and
5. Merck & Co., Inc.


The top 100 recipients received a total of $2,127,325.00 in FY 07, or 68% of the total payments. Of the top 100 recipients, psychiatrists were the largest beneficiaries of payments. Eleven psychiatrists received a total of $626,379.00, or approximately 20% of the overall total. Further breakdown of this recipient group is as follows:
�� The average payment to the nine psychiatrists in the top 100 recipient group in
FY 07 was $56,944.00. The average payment in FY 06 to the eleven psychiatrists among the top 100 recipient group was $45,692.00, and in FY 05 the average payment to the 14 psychiatrists among the top 100 recipient group was $20,835.00.
�� The average payment to psychiatrists in FY 07 is a 25% increase over the previous fiscal year, and a 173% increase over the average payment made to psychiatrists in the top 100 recipient group in FY 05.

�� The median payment to the nine psychiatrists in the top 100 recipient group in FY 07 was $30,529.00. The median payment to the psychiatrists among the top 100 recipient group in FY 06 was $27,912.00 and in FY 05 $16,214.00

�� The median payment to psychiatrists in the top 100 recipient group in FY 07 is a 9% increase over the median payment to them in FY 06, and an 88% increase over the FY 05 median payment.

Although not being reported in the media, two other specialties received average payments larger than psychiatry: cardiology ($156,000) and "osteopath" ($99,843). In addition, two other specialties received average payments almost as high as psychiatrists: geriatrics ($49,110) and endocrinology ($45,154). In addition, an RN received payments of $23,070.

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