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Dollars for Docs: The top earners list
First Published Mar 12 2013 10:24 am • Last Updated Mar 12 2013 10:52 am

When Dollars for Docs first launched in 2010, ProPublica spoke with several of the dozens of doctors who had earned more than $200,000 from their speaking and consulting work for drug companies. Now, with records from more companies and more years of data, we’ve identified 22 doctors who’ve earned at least $500,000 since 2009 — including one, Jon Draud, who was paid more than $1 million.

Most of these in-demand speakers hail from a just handful of states: four each from New York and Texas, and two each from California, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Tennessee. Half are psychiatrists, including three of the top four earners. The most commonly represented drug companies are Merck and Pfizer - 15 of the 22 doctors speak or consult for each of them. And all but one of the doctors are men.

At a glance

Utah doctors paid $25.8 million by drug companies

Drug companies have made $25.8 million in payments to Utah doctors since 2009 for research, consulting, travel and entertainment — a common practice, the scope of which is only now becoming clear and causing uneasiness in medicine.

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Amounts listed below are for speaking and consulting only; compensation for travel, meals, research and other categories is excluded. The disclosures include payments to doctors dating back to 2009 for many drug companies, though others do not go back as far. If the recipients have separately disclosed relationships with drug companies that are not in Dollars for Docs, they are noted.

Jon Draud

Location: Nashville, Tenn.

Board Certification: American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology

Medical School: University of Kentucky, Class of 1990

Amount: $1,009,213

Companies: AstraZeneca, Cephalon, Eli Lilly, Forest, Merck, Novartis, Pfizer

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Draud, the medical director of the Psychiatric Hospitalist Program at Baptist Hospital and Middle Tennessee Medical Center, stated in a conference biography in 2010 that he has "delivered over 3,500 professional lectures to medical personnel." Draud previously has disclosed financial relationships with Angelini-Biopharm, Sanofi-Aventis, Sunovion and Takeda. He did not respond to requests for comment.

Gerald Sacks

Location: Santa Monica, Calif.

Board Certification: American Board of Anesthesiology

Medical School: University of Massachusetts, Class of 1983

Amount: $730,400

Companies: Cephalon, Johnson & Johnson, Eli Lilly, Pfizer

Sacks specializes in pain management. He declined to comment about his speaking when reached by ProPublica in March. He has disclosed a financial relationship with Abbott Laboratories.

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