A doctor looking at X-Rays of a Breast.
Doctors received slightly less in payments from pharmaceuticals companies in 2013.(Reuters)

Doctors were paid £38.5m by pharmaceutical companies in 2013, slightly less than the £40m received the year before for promoting their drugs to patients, according to data released by the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI).

The link between the pharmaceutical industry and prescribers has come under scrutiny recently in the US where a number of scandals over sales practices has led people to question whether profits are being put before patient care.

Following the scrutiny, some pharmaceutical companies have had a rethink about how they operate.

GlaxoSmithKline announced in December that it would stop paying doctors to promote its drugs but will continue to pay fees for clinical research and advisory work.

From 2016, drug companies in Europe will be required to make public the names of individual doctors they have paid. This mirrors policy in the US, with healthcare laws state that drug companies are now required to disclose payments to doctors.