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UK doctors paid $64 mln by drug firms Pharmaceutical data shows slightly less than 2012

LONDON, April 3, (RTRS): Doctors in Britain were paid £38.5 million ($64 million) by drugmakers last year, sightly less than 2012, according to new data underscoring the links between the pharmaceutical industry and prescribers. Industry payments to doctors have come under increased scrutiny following a number of scandals over sales practices, notably in the United States, and concerns that such ties could put commercial interests ahead of the best outcome for patients.

The figure, announced by the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) on Thursday, was slightly down on the 2012 level of £40 million. Criticism of the close relationship between doctors and drug firms has prompted some companies to rethink how they operate. GlaxoSmithKline said in December it would stop paying doctors to promote its drugs, though it will still pay fees for clinical research and advisory work. A number of other firms have also taken more limited steps to curb physician-related marketing practices, including AstraZeneca, which said in 2011 it was scrapping payments for doctors to attend international congresses.

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