Some Rio Grande Valley doctors get thousands of dollars in cash, and other forms of payment, from pharmaceutical companies. The totals climb into six figures for some. The payments are not illegal, but medical ethicists, and even the federal government, say they do raise serious questions about the potential for conflicts of interest. "They said this is how you make a buck in this pharmaceutical industry," said Dr. Howard Brody, director of the Medical Humanities Institute at UTMB. Brody said pharmaceutical companies spend $56 billion each year marketing new drugs. Doctors get money, dinners, trips and tickets to high-profile sporting events, among other things. "It's creating serious problems about professional responsibility and integrity," Brody said.