Doctors accept €50 million from pharmaceutical firms
Doctors and healthcare institutions accepted 51.6 million euros in sponsorship money from the pharmaceutical industry last year. That's a 36 percent increase compared to 2014, according to figures from the Transparency Register Healthcare, the Volkskrant reports. "That is a lot of money", SP parliamentarian and former doctor Henk van Gerven commented to the newspaper. "These payments result in social damage which is much larger. Those who get money, become milder and that is a risk. Physicians who are paid often prescribe more expensive medications. They should not be rewarded by the industry. The registry records payments made in the healthcare- and pharmaceutical industry. It also registers financial ties between healthcare institutions and manufacturers of devices like pacemakers and prosthetic. For the first time the Registry also recorded payments made to patient organizations and associations last year. Pharmaceutical manufacturers paid a total of 2.2 million euros to patient associations in 2015. Pharmaceuticals sponsoring patient associations is a controversial topic, given the fact that patient associations are involved in talks about treatment guidelines and expensive drugs. "There is no better advocate for the reimbursement of a drug than a complaining patient", Ruud Coolen van Brakel, director of the institute for responsible medication use, said to the newspaper. "Sponsored associations lobby harder or keep their mouths shut when a drug is under attack." Pharmaceutical industry association Nefarma doesn't think that patient associations are being influenced with sponsorship money. "We want to hear what patients think is important in the treatment of their disease, that is essential for drug development", a spokesperson said to the Volkskrant. "Patient associations are the best link. We give money and receive information in return."