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MT healthcare workers defend payments from drug companies

Billings Gazette, November 21, 2011

Doctors, pharmacists and other health care professionals in Montana received $692,983 in payments and perks from drug companies between 2009 and early 2011, according to a database that includes disclosure information from a dozen pharmaceutical firms. Nearly 200 of the doctors and health care professionals who received payments in Montana are from Billings, and some received upwards of $60,000, a Billings Gazette analysis shows. The payments were for travel, meals, research, consulting and speaking engagements, the data show. Nationally, the 12 drug companies disclosed $761.3 million in payments to promotional speakers, researchers and consultants for their products. The most popular speakers included doctors who specialize in cancer treatment or diabetes.