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Sorrell releases findings on drug marketing disclosures

By John O'Brien | Jun 27, 2007

MONTPELIER, Vt. - In his fourth report concerning pharmaceutical marketing, Vermont Attorney General William Sorrell says drug companies spent $2.25 million marketing their products to state physicians, hospitals and universities.

The figure represents a 2.3 percent increase from the 2005 fiscal year.

"For the fourth year in a row, our analysis shows that there is a great deal of money being spent in our small state on marketing pharmaceutical products," Sorrell said. "Right now we are the only state that has obtained and analyzed these expenditures by pharmaceutical companies. Other states are following our lead and have enacted similar laws, but our office is the only one in the country that prepares such a detailed analysis of the reported expenditures."

According to the report, Eli Lilly and Co. was the top spender in the state, followed by Sanofi Aventis, Pfizer, Forest Pharmaceuticals and Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp. Combined, the companies spent nearly 60 percent of all reported expenditures.

Psychiatrists were the top target, receiving more than 22 percent ($502,612.02) of all expenditures.

State law requires pharmaceutical companies to report the expenditures, though in August 2005, a consumer group sued Sorrell over the law.

According to the lawsuit, Public Citizens Health Research Group sent Sorrell a request in December 2004 seeking all the pharmaceutical company reports from his office for July 1, 2002-June 30, 2003.

Sorrell provided the records but would not release any information that had been designated as a trade secret. Public Citizen claimed the withheld information came mostly from many of the largest drug companies.

Louisiana, Maine, West Virginia, Minnesota and the District of Columbia also have gift disclosure laws.

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