Drug company disclosures
Beginning in 2009, giant drug makers Eli Lilly and Merck will voluntarily disclose online the names of some of the doctors to whom they pay consulting and speaking fees. Consumer advocates accuse pharmaceutical companies of showering gifts on doctors and medical researchers to influence their support for new drugs and prescriptions. Congress is considering sunshine legislation requiring disclosure of payments to physicians of more than $500.
Poor care at nursing homes
More than 90 percent of nursing homes violate federal health and safety standards, according to a report by the Department of Health and Human Services. More than 1.5 million Americans live in 15,000 nursing homes in the U.S. The report found that care in about 17 percent of homes posed “actual harm or immediate jeopardy” to patients, including instances of abuse and neglect. For-profit homes had more violations than nonprofit homes.