Glaxo Stops Paying Doctors to Speak About Drugs

Posted on January 9, 2014 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of and John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

The big news last month in the pharma world was when Glaxo decided to stop paying doctors to promote drugs and stopped tying compensation of pharma sales people with the number of prescriptions a doctor writes. Here’s an excerpt from a New York Times article:

The British drug maker GlaxoSmithKline will no longer pay doctors to promote its products and will stop tying compensation of sales representatives to the number of prescriptions doctors write, its chief executive said Monday, effectively ending two common industry practices that critics have long assailed as troublesome conflicts of interest.

This is a move that many people will applaud. Although, I wonder if there’s not a lot more to this story than what it purports. Was this really an acknowledgement that paying doctors might influence what they say or were those techniques just not working as well as they use to work?

I’ve long seen pharma companies salivating over the possibility of providing their “education” right at the point of care in the middle of the prescribing process. This would usually be in the EHR software. In fact, the Free EHR companies have mostly made their business model around this idea. However, I have yet to see this business model really take off, but it will.

I wonder if this shift by Glaxo will present the right opportunity for EHR vendors to really engage pharma in this. I can assure you that the pharma companies still have the same goals. I just believe they have to consider new methods. Could EHR be the next method they use to communicate with the doctor?