Eli Lilly and Merck are going to start reporting payments made to physicians. How would you feel if you found out that your physician, who just prescribed you (or your child)that expensive new drug, has been receiving payments from the drug's manufacturer? Or that your physician has just attended a lavish "educational" conference at Lake Tahoe, sponsored by the drug's maker, and devoted largely to pushing the benefits of the drug? The drug itself could be perfectly fine, but the conflict of interest would make most of us queasy. Which is why openness about payments by drug companies to physicians is a good thing. It's possible that this move by Lilly and Merck won't go far enough in reporting all of the money they pay physicians, or making clear who gets payments, but it seems like a step in the right direction.