December 16th, 2013
GSK to stop paying doctors in major marketing overhaul
By Ben Hirschler
LONDON (Reuters) - GlaxoSmithKline will stop paying doctors for promoting its drugs and scrap prescription targets for its marketing staff - a first for an industry battling scandals over its sales practices, and a challenge for its peers to follow suit. Britain’s biggest drugmaker also said on Tuesday it would stop payments to healthcare professionals for attending medical conferences as it tries to persuade critics it is addressing conflicts of interest that could put commercial interests ahead of the best outcome for patients.
The move may force other companies to act, since the entire drugs industry has been under fire for aggressive marketing tactics in recent years. “Where GSK leads we must hope that other companies will follow,” Fiona Godlee, editor of the British Medical Journal and an influential campaigner against undue industry influence in medical practice, told Reuters.