UPDATE 1-Pfizer, GSK paid $262 mln to U.S. doctors in 2010

* Pfizer spent $177 mln on clinical trials, speakers

* Rival drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline spent $85 mln

* Disclosures follow push for more industry transparency
(Adds Pfizer statement and background on Merck spending)

LONDON, March 31 (Reuters) – U.S. doctors last year
received $177 million from Pfizer Inc (PFE.N: Quote, Profile, Research) and $85 million
from GlaxoSmithKline Plc (GSK.L: Quote, Profile, Research) for speaking at events, giving
expert advice and working on clinical trials of medicines.

The disclosures are the latest example of Big Pharma bowing
to pressure for greater transparency, following concerns in the
United States about commercial links between industry and
healthcare professionals.

Pfizer, which is required to detail payments to physicians
following government investigations into its marketing
practices, said on Thursday that work on clinical trials and
related research accounted for $108 million of the total.

Payments to speakers at expert-led forums made up the bulk
of the remaining expenditure, with 4,600 doctors receiving an
average of $7,400 each for their work at events last year.

GSK, which is not under an obligation to detail its
payments, said separately it paid 5,331 U.S. doctors a total of
$56.8 million for speaking on behalf of the company or giving
it advice in 2010.

The British drugmaker’s payments to U.S. doctors for
clinical trials amounted to $28.5 million.

Speaking engagements, in which doctors are paid by
drugmakers to discuss their medicines with groups of other
physicians, have been among the most controversial industry
marketing practices.

By law, companies are forbidden to promote their drugs for
uses not cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. But
some companies allegedly have greatly boosted prescriptions for
their drugs by allowing or encouraging paid speakers to discuss
such “off-label” use of their products.

Merck & Co Inc (MRK.N: Quote, Profile, Research) earlier this week revealed on its
website that it paid $20.4 million in 2010 to 2,088 U.S.
doctors to discuss its products — but the company did not
detail payments for clinical trials work.

The Merck figures exclude payments linked to medicines
developed by Schering-Plough, which was acquired by Merck in
November 2009.
(Reporting by Ben Hirschler; Editing by Will Waterman and
Steve Orlofsky)

UPDATE 1-Pfizer, GSK paid $262 mln to U.S. doctors in 2010