Last year, The Los Angeles Times reported pharmaceutical companies spend $19 billion a year to woo doctors, dwarfing the $5 million spent on direct advertising to consumers. Some claim this interferes with the doctor-patient relationship. It might be. In 2006, U.S. customers bought $279-billion worth of prescription medications and 80% of that was brand-name products.
This sort of thing happens a lot. Like when Atkins funds a study saying Atkins is good for you. But the Cleveland Clinic is bucking the trend. The hospital has announced plans to disclose business relationships that any of its 1,800 staff doctors and scientists have with drug companies and device-makers, the first prominent medical center to do so; The New York Times investigates.