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WASHINGTON – A government watchdog will tell Congress Wednesday that the pharmaceutical and medical device industries' billion-dollar spending spree for medical education is threatening the judgment of physicians across the country.
Over the past 10 years, drug and device companies have increased their funding for such meetings by over 300 percent, according to industry figures. Companies now provide more than half of the $2.5 billion spent annually on medical education.
The Senate Aging Committee will hear from a half-dozen other witnesses Wednesday, most of whom oppose industry funding for medical education. Committee Chairman Herb Kohl, D-Wis., is pushing a bill that would require companies to disclose all payments to physicians over $100. Kohl and co-sponsor Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, hope to include their Physician Payment Sunshine Act in the health care bill taking shape in the Senate, which has been slowed by cost concerns.