Bolsonaro wants to disclose Big Pharma payments to doctors

Big Pharma payments to doctors
Photo: Optimarc/Shutterstock

The Brazilian government is drafting a provisional decree that would force pharmaceutical giants to disclose every payment they make to physicians, patient associations, laboratories, hospitals, and politicians. The move aims at curbing potential conflicts of interests detrimental to patients’ interests, as Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga explained, in an interview. According to him, the pandemic exacerbated these conflicts. 

The decree is based on the U.S. Physician Payments Sunshine Act of 2009, passed to shed light on financial relationships between Big Pharma and physicians. Indeed, multiple scandals have exposed kickback programs orchestrated by pharmaceutical giants, seeking to encourage doctors to prescribe certain drugs. 

It is also true that supporters of President Jair Bolsonaro have tried to call the interests of Big Pharma during the pandemic into question — saying that studies that portrayed chloroquine as unsafe and ineffective as a Covid treatment were merely defending the interest of major industry players.