GSK to stop payments to health care providers

Dec. 17, 2013 @ 05:32 PM

GlaxoSmithKline plans to stop making direct payments to doctors for speaking engagements and for attending medical conferences, the British drug development company announced Tuesday.

The company also said that it plans to launch a new compensation system for its global sales staff members who work directly with health care providers that prescribe medications.
“We recognize that we have an important role to play in providing doctors with information about our medicines, but this must be done clearly, transparently and without any perception of conflict of interest,” company CEO Andrew Witty said in a prepared statement in Tuesday’s announcement.
Mary Anne Rhyne, a company spokeswoman, said in an email that GSK plans to honor contracts for payments for physicians for 2014 events.
GlaxoSmithKline has voluntarily disclosed its payments to doctors for several years, Rhyne said. In 2012, the company paid a total of $9.2 million to health care providers for speaking engagements, she said in an email. Through the third quarter of this year, she said the company has paid $2.8 million.
The plan announced Tuesday is to fully stop payments by 2016 following a two-year information-gathering process, according to the release.
As part of that two-year process, the company plans to work out details with health care professionals, medical groups, and patient interest groups. 
Rhyne said the process is meant to help the company determine how it can provide information to health care providers without “paying doctors to talk to their peers in a promotional setting,” she said.
For its compensation program for its global sales force, the company is removing sales targets for the workers, and is placing more of an emphasis on sales staff’s technical knowledge and other performance measures.
The company plans to launch the changes beginning in 2014 in some countries, and to have it in operation in all countries by early 2015.
The system has been in place for about 5,500 U.S. sales representatives since 2011.
That might involve learning about how doctors want that information delivered, she said, or what kind of information they want.
GlaxoSmithKline employs about 4,000 workers in the Research Triangle Park and has about 500 workers at a manufacturing site in Zebulon.