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Lilly opens spigot to Minnesota psychiatrists

August 27, 2007
Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly and Co. paid more money-$11 million-to Minnesota doctors, nurses and medical foundations than any other drug company between 2002 and 2004, according to the Pioneer Press of St. Paul, Minn.

The report is based on Minnesota's strict disclosure law. Only Maine and Vermont have similar laws requiring pharmaceutical companies to open books on the extent of payments to the medical profession.

GlaxoSmithKline made the second-most payments, $9.2 million, the newspaper said.

The report did not detail who received Lilly's payments, although the newspaper said one in three psychiatrists were paid by drug-makers.

The report comes days after an Associated Press analysis of Minnesota records showed Lilly paid $488,953 in speaking fees to a psychiatrist who advises the state of Minnesota on which drugs to use in Medicaid programs. The fees were paid over eight years through 2006.

The fees, received by John E. Simon, have raised questions about whether Simon was influenced to recommend that Lilly's biopolar disorder and schizophrenia drug Zyprexa be used by Medicaid patients in the state.

Simon says his views weren't influenced by the payments. But his voting history on a key advisory panel is unavailable because votes were not recorded.

State advisory panels, like the one in Minnesota, are considered to have significant influence over the $28 billion spent on drugs each year for Medicaid patients nationwide.

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