Lilly to Establish Registry of its Payments to Physicians

October 2, 2008
Pharmaceutical Technology Editors
ePT--the Electronic Newsletter of Pharmaceutical Technology

Eli Lilly and Company plans to launch an online registry of its payments to physicians in 2009.

Indianapolis, IN (Sept. 24)-Eli Lilly and Company plans to launch an online registry of its payments to physicians in 2009. At a speech before the Economic Club of Indiana, John Lechleiter, Lilly’s president and chief executive officer (CEO), described the planned registry during remarks about the company’s transformation efforts.

“With each of our industry firsts, from launching our clinical-trials registry to the public reporting of educational grants, Lilly is striving to be a leader in improving transparency across our industry,” said Lechleiter. “As Lilly continues to look for more ways to be open and transparent about our business, we’ve learned that letting people see for themselves what we’re doing is the best way to build trust.”

Earlier this year, Lilly was the first pharmaceutical research company to endorse the Physician Payments Sunshine Act, which would establish a national registry of payments to physicians by medical-device, medical-supply, and pharmaceutical companies. Senators Charles Grassley (R-IA) and Herbert Kohl (D-WI) introduced the legislation in September 2008, and Congress has not passed it yet.

Lechleiter added, “Though we remain hopeful that the Sunshine Act will be passed by Congress at some point, Lilly is taking action independently. Being more transparent by opening up our business to the public is an important step to building trust and confidence.”

Lilly’s registry plan will provide a publicly accessible Internet database that lists the company’s payments to physicians. At first, the database will include 2009 payments to physicians who work for Lilly as speakers and advisors. By 2011, Lilly plans to expand the registry’s reporting capabilities to match those described in the Sunshine Act. The registry will be updated annually to include the previous year’s payment information. Lilly plans to establish the registry during the second half of 2009.

“Eli Lilly is leading the charge for transparency in the relationship between pharmaceutical companies and doctors by fulfilling the obligations of the Physician Payments Sunshine Act before it has been enacted,” said Senator Kohl. “It takes a lot of courage to be the first. They have made a principled decision that I believe will benefit both their business and the consumers of their products.”

“Lilly is proud of the important and longstanding relationships we have with physicians,” said Lechleiter. “Many physicians perform valuable services for the biopharmaceutical industry by advising us on the development of new medicines and giving lectures to other medical professionals to educate them about new treatment options. For these services, they are compensated at market rates. These services help to advance the science related to medicines and are important to both current and future patients who rely on pharmaceuticals as an integral part of their therapy.”

“Our primary focus is the well-being of our patients, and the American Psychiatric Association [APA] has adopted strict disclosure policies to ensure our patients are informed regarding relationships between physicians and industry,” said James H. Scully Jr., APA’s CEO and medical director. “We applaud efforts by Lilly to ensure there is transparency in their relationships with physicians.”

Establishment of the physician-payments registry follows other voluntary actions Lilly has taken recently to enhance transparency in healthcare, including its support of the Physician Payments Sunshine Act. In 2004, Lilly became the first company to voluntarily make its clinical trials and its clinical-trials data public. Last year, Lilly began publicly reporting its educational grants and charitable contributions each quarter on a special website.

For more about the Physician Payments Sunshine Act, see “Bill Calls for Disclosure of Drug-Company Gifts to Doctors.”