A day after Eli Lilly stated its support for the revised Physician Payments Sunshine Act about declaring gifts to doctors, Pfizer has announced that it is posting a list of grants and charitable contributions made in the first quarter.

The New York-based drugs giant says that the move, which follows a similar policy adopted by Lilly last year, is “part of an ongoing drive throughout the company to increase transparency”. Of $9.97 million given out to 242 US medical, scientific and patient organisations in the first quarter of 2008, the largest grant, one of over $3.4 million, was made to the California Academy of Family Physicians in March for “ a three-year national health care professional education campaign to reduce the number of US smokers”. Pfizer markets the smoking cessation treatment Chantix (varenicline).

Chief executive Jeff Kindler said that “detailing these grants and charitable contributions is an important part of our ongoing transparency drive.” Pfizer also noted that it began disclosing political contributions and registering clinical trials in 2002 and in 2006 launched a regularly updated public site describing compounds under development and their progress. Last year, it began reporting its post-marketing commitments to the US Food and Drug Administration relating to the safety, efficacy or the use of its medicines.

The issue of transparency is under the spotlight again with the updated version of Sunshine Act which is due to come into force at the end of March 2011. Lilly has backed the changes which raises the payment limit requiring disclosure from $25 to $500, while possible fines have been reduced to $1,000-$50,000 from $10,000-$100,000 for each violation.