Pharma spent $3.11 million on drug marketing in Vermont

Who would have guessed that the land of cows, antiques, and ski areas would be worth $3.11 million in drug marketing dollars? But that's what 48 pharma companies spent from July 1, 2003 through June 30, 2004 to market their wares to docs and hospitals in the Green Mountain State, according to the Vermont Attorney General William H. Sorrell's second report on pharmaceutical marketing disclosures filed by the drug industry. This is a 26 percent increase over the amount spent in FY03.

The amount disclosed does not include total marketing dollars, including detailer salaries, advertising, free drug samples, compensation for clinical trials, payments under $25, certain educational scholarships, and unrestricted grants for continuing medical education. That $3.11 million is just for fees, travel expense, gifts, and other payments to physicians, hospitals, universities and others that prescribe or dispense pharmaceutical products. One extrapolation I read says that, if this were generalizable to the rest of the U.S., the total amount would come to $1.45 billion.

Seventy-seven percent went to healthcare workers; 55 percent of whom were physicians or other prescribers. And, since pharma is now required to put names to the gifts, we know that 5 percent of the recipients received 62 percent of the total reportable gifts in FY04. Hospitals got the biggest share of the loot, followed by psychiatrists and pharmacists. The docs who got the most reaped anywhere from $20,000 to $80,000.

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