Pharmaceutical Companies Spend More in Vermont in 2007, Says Attorney General Sorrell

Vermont Psychiatrists Receive the Most Money

MONTPELIER, July 9, 2008-Pharmaceutical companies spent more than $3 million dollars in Vermont in 2007 to influence sales of their products. The Vermont Attorney General’s Office fifth report on Pharmaceutical Marketing Disclosures provides information on where these funds were directed. "This report shows, once again, that the pharmaceutical industry has too much influence over the practice of medicine in Vermont," said Attorney General Sorrell. "It is particularly troubling that the industry is paying large sums of money to influence prescribing practices involving psychiatric drugs."

The report, available at www.atg.state.vt.us, found that during fiscal year 2007 (July 1, 2006 - June 30, 2007):

  1. 84 pharmaceutical manufacturers reported spending more than $3 million in Vermont on fees, travel expenses, and other direct payments to Vermont physicians, hospitals, universities and others for the purpose of marketing their products. That represents a 33% increase over reported expenditures for similar expenses in FY 06, and a 42% increase over reported expenditures for similar expenses in FY 05.
  1. The top five spenders in Vermont on marketing were:
  1. Eli Lilly and Company
  2. Pfizer, Inc.
  3. UCB, Inc.
  4. Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation and
  5. Merck & Co., Inc.
  1. Payments reported by these five pharmaceutical companies represent 56% of the total amount reported by the 84 companies that filed disclosures.
  1. The top 100 recipients received more than $2 million, or 68% of the total payments.
  1. Of the top 100 recipients, psychiatrists received the highest level of payments. Eleven psychiatrists received a total of $626,379.00, or approximately 20% of the total value of payments. The average amount received by psychiatrists was $56,944.00.
  1. Physicians specializing in cardiovascular disease received the second largest aggregate amount among the top 100 recipients. Two prescribers received a total of $312,898.00. Physicians specializing in internal medicine received the third largest aggregate amount among the top 100 recipients, with 21 prescribers receiving a total of $277,385.00, or an average of $13,209.00.
  1. For the first time, this report analyzes the payments to prescribers based upon the drug being marketed. The top 20 drugs represent 7% of all drugs for which disclosures were reported, but accounted for 62% of total marketing expenditures on specific drugs. The top 10 drugs were as follows:

Drug Name

Drug Purpose

Ranking by Total Dollars Spent

Strattera

ADHD

1

Metadate CD

ADHD

2

Januvia

Type 2 Diabetes

3

Lexapro

Depression

4

Cymbalta

Depression

5

Lantus

Diabetes

6

Seroquel

Bi-Polar Disorder and Schizophrenia

7

Namenda

Alzheimer’s

8

Vytorin/Zetia

Cholesterol

9

Benicar

Hypertension

10


CONTACT: Julie Brill

Assistant Attorney General

(802) 828-5479

Posted: July 2008


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