- A clinical data alteration scandal in Japan led to the implementation of a "Sunshine Act" equivalent in the country. Reporting began in August of this year.
- 65 Japanese pharmaceutical companies released payment data revealing that they spent a total of $1.64 billion on speaking fees.
- With the latest focus on transparency and the negative response to previous scandals, there has been a notable decrease in money paid out to doctors and institutions overall (a 10% decrease year-over-year).
All of the reform measures that are taking place in the pharmaceutical industry, including the Sunshine Act in the U.S. and the latest reforms taking place in Japan, are intended to rein in unethical behavior and shed light on excessive payments from pharma to individual doctors or to healthcare institutions. While many professors and medical experts defend their role as educators and speakers and say their payments are justified, others assert it's a problematic dynamic.
In one case, a physician complained that the same doctor will talk up the attributes of drug A versus drug B at one meeting, and then shift gears in favor of drug B at the next meeting—depending on which pharma company is footing the bill. And while there has been an overall decrease in money paid out to doctors and medical institutions, there has been an increase in money paid to speakers, to a total of $100 million.