ProPublica, an independent news organization, has been investigating the connection between physicians and pharmaceutical companies, and how pharmaceutical company payments influence physician prescription practices, including the prescription of dangerous drugs such as Avandia, Levaquin and Meridia.
This in-depth report reveals that hundreds of doctors received payments from drug companies who had been accused of professional misconduct, disciplined by state boards or lacked credentials as researchers or specialists. As stated by a researcher "Without question, the public should care...Why would you want your doctor learning from a bad doctor, someone who hasn't displayed good judgment in the past?"
Based on their research ProPublica published a database of doctors who have taken money from seven different drug companies in the past two years. The database features over 17,000 doctors - many of whom are paid substantial sums of money to act as speakers for drug companies. However, only seven drug companies have publicly reported payments and as such, represent only a small fraction of doctors who speak for pharmaceutical companies in the United States. In fact, this number could be as large as 100,000.