Eli Lilly: Yet Again, One Small Step Ahead of Congress

Cartoon doctorThe pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly has announced that it will begin reporting its payments to doctors in late 2009, using an online database. But the disclosure is limited to payments of more than $500 made for giving talks or advice to the company; payments for other services or gifts will not be included. Payments made before 2009 will also not be disclosed. Eli Lilly president and CEO John Lechleiter explained the move by stating, "We've learned that letting people see for themselves what we're doing is the best way to build trust." In mid-2007, as the U.S. Senate Finance Committee was investigating drug company grants to patient groups, Eli Lilly began disclosing its grants to U.S. nonprofit groups and educational institutions. Its new registry of payments to doctors comes as Congress considers the Physician Payments Sunshine Act. The bill would require disclosure of any drug company payment to doctors of more than $25, whether the payment was for food, travel, entertainment, gifts, consulting fees or any other purpose.