US doctors received $6.5 billion from drug, device firms in 2015

pharmafile | July 1, 2016 | News story | Medical Communications, Research and Development, Sales and Marketing US, affordable care act, pharma, regulation 

Doctors and hospitals received nearly $6.5 billion in research and speaking fees as well as other goods or services from the pharma companies, biotech firms and medical-device makers in 2015, according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Open Payments report.

Overall the companies received about $3.9 billion in payments for research and $2.6 billion for other purposes.

The Open Payments program, which was created under the Affordable Care Act healthcare reform with the aim of improving transparency, requires drug and device manufacturers to report payments to health care providers for things like speaking engagements about their products and research grants.

The data included payments to about 618,000 doctors and 1,110 teaching hospitals. The disclosure, which also follows a similar release covering the last five months of 2013, was made as part of the transparency initiative under the Sunshine Act provision of the Affordable Care Act.

The report allows individuals to track payments to their physicians by drug companies. The recent reports over the past months showing the prescription habits of the doctors in relation to the freebies they received from the industry have raised concerns and called for the need for greater transparency.  

US pharma giant Pfizer (NYSE: PFE) reported at least $234 million in research payments and $53.3 million in general outlays. In addition, UK drug firm AstraZeneca (LSE: AZN) spent at least $85.7 million on research and $72.5 million on general payments. MSD (NYSE: MRK) disclosed it paid at least $97.7 million for research and made at least $27.5 million in general payments.

The disclosure follows a recent study suggesting that doctors who received free meals from the drugmakers were more likely to prescribe the brand-name medication that was being promoted.

Anjali Shukla

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