Pfizer Pays Out Millions to Doctors

Pfizer, the world's biggest drug company, says it paid 4,500 doctors and other medical professionals about $20 million total in professional fees for services like consulting and speaking on behalf of the company, in just the last six months of 2009. During the same period, Pfizer also paid $15.3 million to 250 academic medical centers and other research groups for clinical trials.


Study Debunks Insurers' Explanation for Exorbitant Rate Hikes

Fingers crossedThe pro-health care reform group Health Care for America Now has released a study (pdf) that contradicts insurance companies' claims that their recent, exorbitant rate hikes were driven by increases in the cost of medical care.


WellPoint's Heart-Stopping Rate Increase

Cash or Credit onlyA congressional hearing next week into the proposed 39 percent rate increase in California by health insurance giant WellPoint could breathe new life into health care reform efforts on Capitol Hill, especially if lawmakers broaden their investigation into the outrageous rate increases other insurers are also demanding from coast to coast.

WellPoint found itself in Congressional investigators' crosshairs after the California Department of Insurance challenged the company's planned increase in the rates it charges its customers who cannot get coverage through the workplace, but have to go it alone in what is called the individual market.

CREW Asks Obama to Avoid Scandal-Plagued Group's "National Prayer Breakfast"

The watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) is asking President Obama not to attend this year's National Prayer Breakfast, the signature annual event of a secretive, Washington, D.C.-based, conservative Christian organization known as "


Transparency Loses in GOP Lawmakers' Private Retreat

In his State of the Union address this week, President Obama urged members of Congress to be more transparent about their interactions with lobbyists. Yet this same week, members of the House Republican Caucus will attend a retreat sponsored by the non-profit Congressional Institute, where they will mingle privately with lobbyists.


Luxury Cruises Resume to Haiti: Bad PR, Good Deed, or Both?

Cruise purveyor Royal Caribbean stirred up a public relations storm last week after it resumed taking vacationing tourists to its luxury Haitian beach resort, Labadee, located just 100 miles from the shocking scenes of rubble, suffering and desperation brought by the earthquake.


Credit Card Companies Profit Off Tragedy in Haiti

Many relief organizations are soliciting donations to help victims of the earthquake in Haiti by using hotlines and Web sites that prompt people to use their credit cards. While most of the money people give will make it to the designated organizations, credit card companies are charging a two to three percent "transaction fee" or "charity processing fee" that gets subtracted from the donations.



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