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Dollars for Docs: The top earners list

Published March 12, 2013 11:04 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

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.

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

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.

John Miller

Location: Exeter, N.H.

Board Certification: American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology

Medical School: University of Massachusetts, Class of 1986

Amount: $669,935

Companies: AstraZeneca, Forest, Pfizer

Miller is the medical director of Brain Health. He is also a staff psychiatrist at Seacoast Mental Health Center and a consulting psychiatrist at Exeter Hospital. Miller disclosed a financial relationship with Sunovion. He did not respond to repeated requests for comment.

Gustavo Alva

Location: Costa Mesa, Calif.

Board Certification: American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology

Medical School: Autonomous University of Guadalajara, Class of 1990

Amount: $663,751

Companies: AstraZeneca, Forest, Johnson & Johnson, Eli Lilly, Merck, Novartis, Pfizer

Alva is the medical director of ATP Clinical Research, a private clinical research company specializing in neuropsychiatric investigations. He has served as assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of California, Irvine. Reached about his speaking, Alva told ProPublica, "I actually enjoy the aspect of educating my counterparts about developments in the field."

Warren Joseph

Location: Coatesville, Pa.

Medical School: Dr. William M. Scholl College of Podiatric Medicine, Class of 1981

Amount: $652,412

Companies: Merck, Pfizer, Valeant

Joseph is a podiatrist at Roxborough Memorial Hospital in Philadelphia. He is editor of the Journal of the American Podiatric Medical Association and a fellow of the Infectious Diseases Society of America. Joseph did not respond to requests for comment.

Lawrence DuBuske

Location: Gardner, Mass.

Board Certification: American Board of Allergy and Immunology

Medical School: Northwestern University, Class of 1978

Amount: $651,524

Companies: AstraZeneca, GlaxoSmithKline, Merck, Novartis

In 2010, DeBuske resigned from Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston because the Harvard-affiliated teaching hospital had adopted a policy prohibiting its doctors from speaking on behalf of drug companies, according to the Boston Globe. He did not respond to requests for comment.

Henry A. Nasrallah

Location: Cincinnati, Ohio

Board Certification: American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology

Medical School: American University of Beirut, 1972

Amount: $647,341

Companies: AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Novartis, Pfizer

Nasrallah, a psychiatrist, is an associate dean and professor at the University of Cincinnati's College of Medicine, as well as the director of its schizophrenia program. According to a guest speaker biography for a University of Arizona psychopharmacology course, Nasrallah served at the chair of Ohio State University's psychiatry department for 12 years. Reached by ProPublica, he declined to comment.

John Osborne

Location: Grapevine, Texas

Board Certification: American Board of Internal Medicine

Medical School: Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University, Class of 1990

Amount: $622,286

Companies: AstraZeneca, GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, Eli Lilly, Merck, Novartis

John Osborne has a Ph.D. in cardiovascular physiology from Thomas Jefferson University. He completed postdoctoral training at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. He is the founder and director of State of the Heart Cardiology and is a faculty member at the University of Texas at Arlington. Osborne agreed to a Texas Medical Board order on Feb. 8, 2013, that assessed a $3,000 administrative penalty and subjected his practice to periodic review by an outside monitor. The order says a nurse in Osborne's office prescribed medications for a patient who had not been examined by Osborne or his nurse practitioner. Osborne did not respond to requests for comment.

Ronald Balkissoon

Location: Denver, Colo.

Medical School: McMaster University, Class of 1988

Amount: $613,612

Companies: AstraZeneca, Forest, GlaxoSmithKline, Novartis

Balkissoon specializes in pulmonary disease. He has served as an assistant professor at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. Balkissoon has disclosed financial relationships with Boehringer Ingelheim and Genentech. He could not be reached for comment.

Rakesh Jain

Location: Lake Jackson, Texas

Board Certification: American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology

Medical School: University of Calcutta

Amount: $582,049

Companies: Forest, Eli Lilly, Merck, Pfizer

Jain specializes in psychiatry and serves as director of psychiatric drug research for R/D Clinical Research in Lake Jackson. Jain has disclosed financial relationships with AstraZeneca, Addrenex, Pamlab, Shionogi, Shire and Sunovion. Reached about his speaking, Jain told ProPublica, "I am not a marketer, I am an educator."

Matthew Brams

Location: Houston, Texas

Board Certification: American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology

Medical School: University of Texas at Houston, Class of 1987

Amount: $571,955

Companies: AstraZeneca, Cephalon, GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, Eli Lilly, Novartis, Pfizer

Brams, a psychiatrist, serves as director of Depelchin Children's Center and Bayou City Research. Brams also serves as a senior national board examiner for the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. Reached about his speaking, Brams told ProPublica that companies were interested in his research involving their drugs and had approached him: "When you're an investigator, you may be one of only a handful of doctors who has information on them."

David A. Rizzieri

Location: Durham, N.C.

Board Certification: American Board of Internal Medicine

Medical School: University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, Class of 1991

Amount: $567,300

Companies: Cephalon, Novartis, GlaxoSmithKline

Rizzieri specializes in cell therapy and hematologica at Duke Medicine, part of the Duke University Health System, where he completed a fellowship. Reached by ProPublica, Rizzieri said in an email that he is doing less industry-sponsored speaking and has refocused his efforts on a program at the university's Division of Cellular Therapy called "Duke Debates," which engages physicians, nurses and pharmacists in education and research initiatives.

Stanley Nasraway

Location: Boston, Mass.

Board Certification: American Board of Internal Medicine

Medical School: University of Southern California, Class of 1983

Amount: $552,775

Companies: GlaxoSmithKline, Merck, Pfizer

Nasraway is director of the surgical intensive care unit at Tufts New England Medical Center. He also serves as an associate professor of Tufts Medical School and has been member of clinical advisory board at Echo Therapeutics since 2005. He did not respond to requests for comment.

Todd Hess

Location: St. Paul, Minn.

Board Certification: American Board of Anesthesiology

Medical School: University of Minnesota, Class of 1986

Amount: $542,900

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

Hess is director of United Pain Center, a clinic based at United Hospital in St. Paul that specializes in treating chronic pain. Reached about his speaking, Hess told ProPublica, "I don't feel like I'm a salesman at all. I feel like I'm educating physicians."

Prakash Masand

Location: New York, N.Y.

Board Certification: American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology

Medical School: University of Bombay, Class of 1982

Amount: $538,864

Companies: AstraZeneca, Forest, GlaxoSmithKline, Eli Lilly, Merck, Pfizer

Masand, a psychiatrist, is the founder and CEO of Global Medical Education, a digital medical education resource. He has served as director of therapeutic area development, neurosciences medicine at the Duke Clinical Research Institute and was a consulting professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Duke Medical Center. Reached by ProPublica, he declined to comment.

Leslie Citrome

Location: Suffern, N.Y.

Board Certification: American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology

Medical School: McGill University, Class of 1983

Amount: $530,569

Companies: AstraZeneca, GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, Eli Lilly, Merck, Novartis, Pfizer

Citrome is a psychiatrist at Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center in Suffern. He has researched schizophrenia and has a master's in public health from Columbia's Mailman School of Public Health. Reached by ProPublica, Citrome declined to comment about his speaking work.

Vladimir Maletic

Location: Greer, S.C.

Board Certification: American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology

Medical School: University of Belgrade, Class of 1981

Amount: $527,850

Companies: Cephalon, Eli Lilly, Merck

Maletic specializes in psychiatry. He completed a residency in psychiatry at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, followed by a residency in child psychiatry at Duke University. Reached by ProPublica about his speaking, Maletic said he believes that "good quality education about pharmaceutical products may be beneficial to both physicians and their patients."

Robert Busch

Location: Albany, N.Y.

Board Certification: American Board of Internal Medicine

Medical School: University of Pennsylvania, Class of 1978

Amount: $527,688

Companies: AstraZeneca, GlaxoSmithKline, Eli Lilly, Merck, Novartis

Busch is an endocrinologist. Reached about his speaking by ProPublica, Busch said he gives about 100 talks a year, most of them in the Northeast. "I don't know why they choose me, but they do," Busch said of the companies that contact him about speaking. Busch said he has turned down offers to speak about drugs that he doesn't endorse, including Avandia, a diabetes drug that remains available despite a U.S. Food and Drug Administration study that recommended taking it off the market.

Elizabeth Race

Location: Dallas, Texas

Board Certification: American Board of Internal Medicine

Medical School: University of Texas at Galveston, Class of 1991

Amount: $516,070

Companies: GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, Viiv

Race specializes in infectious disease. Reached about her speaking ProPublica, she said her industry sponsored work helped pay for trips to train doctors in treating HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis in South Africa and Belize. "It has been a blessing to do AIDS and TB work funded by that kind of money," she said. Race, who was formerly affiliated with the University of Texas Southwestern, emphasized that she is now self-employed and is not bound by university conflict-of-interest policies.

Sanjay Gupta

Location: Buffalo, N.Y.

Board Certification: American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology

Medical School: University of Delhi, Class of 1984

Amount: $515,329

Companies: AstraZeneca, Eli Lilly, Forest, GlaxoSmithKline, Merck, Novartis

Sanjay Gupta is a clinical professor at SUNY Upstate Medical University, where he completed his residency, as well as at SUNY at Buffalo, School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. He was formerly president of Global Research & Consulting, Inc. Gupta did not return calls from ProPublica. He is not the Sanjay Gupta who is chief medical correspondent for CNN.

James Woods

Location: Memphis, Tenn.

Board Certification: American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology

Medical School: University of Tennessee, Class of 1991

Amount: $512,306

Companies: AstraZeneca, Forest, Merck, Novartis, Pfizer

Woods practices with the Psychiatry Group in Memphis. He did not respond to requests for comment.

Matthew Berger

Location: Moosic, Pa.

Medical School: Not listed

Amount: $504,100

Companies: AstraZeneca, Cephalon, Forest, GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, Eli Lilly, Merck, Novartis, Pfizer

Berger, who specializes in forensic psychiatry, has a practice near Scranton, Pa. Berger's office did not respond to requests for comment. —

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