It’s no secret that Eli Lilly and Co. is the biggest private employer in the Indianapolis area.
But Lilly also supplements the incomes of a few dozen local doctors — to the tune of more than $224,000 in just the first quarter. Lilly pays the doctors and other health professionals to help its marketing teams and to speak to other doctors on how a Lilly medicine works.
Extrapolated for the entire year, those payments — made to 53 doctors and health professionals — would total $896,700, although first-quarter payments tend to be higher than during the rest of the year.
Nationwide, the list included nearly 3,400 health care providers and more than $20 million in payments.
The biggest local recipient was Carmel psychiatrist Dr. Chris Bojrab. He garnered $39,150 for his consulting and speaking about Cymbalta, an antidepressant and pain medication that is Lilly’s second-best-selling drug.
Bojrab said he devoted about 20 full days of work to Lilly, including travel to locations like San Diego and Jacksonville, Fla., to help train other physicians to give presentations in their local areas.
“We’re certainly well-compensated for what we do,” Bojrab said of physicians who consult and speak for drug companies. He also speaks and consults for six other drug companies, including New York-based Pfizer Inc. and Japan-based Takeda Pharmaceuticals.
He estimated the pay is about 20 percent higher than what he could earn if he just spent the time seeing patients. But he also has to spend a lot of time coordinating his travel schedules and catching up on work he missed while away.
“It’s not uncommon for me to come home and spend three or four hours a night, just to work out the travel details,” he said, adding, “And it’s not like the work that you had to do goes away.”