The announcement that GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), one of the world's biggest pharma companies, will stop paying doctors and remove sales incentives is a sea-change in an industry struggling with faltering sales and political disapproval.
"It's been mooted for a while. They're all going to do it eventually," Savvas Neophytou, pharmaceuticals analyst at Panmure Gordon, told CNBC.
"It has been a pinch point for regulators and politicians with regards to conflicts of interest."
It has been standard industry practice for decades for pharmaceutical companies to sponsor doctors attending medical conferences, and pay sales forces commission on the prescriptions they got doctors to write. However, these practices have come under increased scrutiny by regulators in recent years, particularly in the U.S., the world's biggest medicines market.