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Drug and device firm doctor payments reach $6.5bn for 2014

1,444 companies made payments to around 600,000 physicians and 1,100 hospitals

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Pharmaceutical and medical device companies funnelled almost $6.5bn in payments to doctors and research hospitals in the US last year.

The new data – released by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) – reveals that 1,444 companies made payments to just over 600,000 physicians and 1,100 hospitals. The tally included $2.56bn in general payments, $3.23bn in research funding and $703m in investments.

This is the second year the CMS has published the survey, which was introduced as part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and is designed to improve the transparency of the financial relationships between industry and the medical profession.

In 2013 the value of payments reported was just over $3.4bn, although the scheme – called Open Payments – only harvested data from the last five months of the year.

Among the top pharma manufacturers, Roche headed the list of big spenders making payments somewhere in the region of $373m - accurate totals for many companies are hard to collate as payments are made through multiple subsidiaries – with most of that total accounted for by its Genentech unit and upwards of $275m going on compensation for general activities such as speaking engagements.

Novartis and Pfizer shelled out payments in the $290m-$300m, and in both cases of this went on research funding with general payments totalling around $43m and $53m, respectively.

Other companies digging deep into their coffers last year included GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) which paid out $203m, Sanofi ($194m), Eli Lilly ($163m), AstraZeneca ($158m) and Merck & Co ($125m).

Shantanu Agrawal, director of the CMS' Center for Program Integrity, said the agency's role is “to facilitate discussion and analysis of the data by making it publicly available for consumers and researchers.” 

Pharma companies in the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA) will start reporting payments in Europe next year when a new code of practice comes into effect.

Article by
Phil Taylor

1st July 2015

From: Healthcare

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