The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently published
the second round of data collected under the
Open Payments System. It revealed that doctors and teaching hospitals received $6.5 billion
from the pharmaceutical and medical device industries in 2014. Overall,
1,444 drug and device makers made payments to 607,000 individual physicians
and 1,121 teaching hospitals.
As we have previously discussed on this blog, the public database is intended
to increase transparency about the financial relationships between physicians
and drug and device makers. When a healthcare provider prescribes a new
drug or medical device, most patients believe that the recommendation
is based solely on their best interests. However, the new federal data
suggests that may not always be true.
Physician Payment Sunshine Act, drug and medical device makers must disclose any transfer of value to
a physician that exceeds $10, which may include money, gifts, meals, and
other perks bestowed upon physicians. Drug companies must also report
whether a physician or his or her family members have an ownership stake
in the company outside of publicly traded stock. The data is collected
by and made available online.
“This is part of our larger effort to open up the healthcare system
to consumers by providing more information to help in their decision making,"
said Andy Slavitt, acting administrator at the Centers for Medicare and
Last fall, CMS released the
first wave of data collected under the Open Payments System. The initial reports showed that drug and device makers made 4.4 million
payments valued at nearly $3.5 billion, which were attributable to 546,000
individual physicians and almost 1,360 teaching hospitals.
The Open Payments program does not specify which payments may result in
conflicts of interest. However, it does increase the scrutiny of the financial
ties between doctors and the health care industry and, therefore, should
help discourage inappropriate relationships. The publicly available database
also provides patients with the information needed to start a dialogue
with their doctors about why they accepted certain payments and how it
may affect their prescribing habits or medical device recommendations.
If you or someone you love has suffered from medical negligence, don’t
contacta San Diego personal injury attorney at the Law Offices of Robert Vaage for a free consultation.