April 5 By Charles Ornstein of ProPublica (forwarded by William Steinsmith, MD):
Pharmaceutical company payments to doctors extend far beyond rank-and-file clinicians and deep into the leadership of America’s teaching hospitals, according to a study published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
A team of researchers at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center examined the boards of the 50 largest drug companies by global sales (excluding three companies that were not publicly traded). The researchers found that 40 percent — 19 companies — had at least one board member who also held a leadership role at an academic medical center. Sixteen of the 17 companies based in the United States had at least one. Several had more than one.
All told, the research team found that 41 of the companies’ 2012 board members held leadership positions at academic medical centers. Six of the 41 were pharmaceutical company executives who served on hospital boards of directors or held other leadership posts.
Excluding the industry executives, the academics earned an average of nearly $313,000 that year for their board service.