Providers received nearly $6.5 billion in payments from drugmakers and medical device manufacturers in 2014, according to data unveiled Tuesday through CMS's Open Payments database.
CMS launched the Open Payments System—which was required under the Affordable Care Act's Sunshine Act— in September 2014.
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The data show that drugmakers and medical device makers made 11.4 million payments to more than 600,000 physicians and more than 1,100 teaching hospitals in 2014. This is the first time CMS has released data on an entire year's worth of payments.
The data include provider payments for consulting, research and promotional engagements, meals, and other expenses paid by drugmakers and medical device companies. CMS said it was able to verify 98.8% of the total records for both years had information correctly identifying recipients.
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Further, CMS allowed providers to review the data before they were published. The agency says providers reviewed data representing about 30% of the total payments before the information was posted.
According to the data, about half of the $6.49 billion in total payments made last year were for research-related efforts. Many of the highest research payments were related to medications that have been available on the market for several years.
Meanwhile, the data show drugmakers and medical device companies paid providers:
- $803.49 million in licensing or royalty fees;
- $403.64 million for drinks, lodging, meals and travel; and
- $369.44 million in consulting fees.
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The data also include information on provider ownership interests totaling $703 million.
CMS acting Administrator Andy Slavitt said of the data release, "Consumer access to information is a key component of delivery system reform and making the health care system perform better"
However, the American Medical Association (AMA) on Tuesday noted that "the vast majority of the data released ... ha[d] not been independently validated by physicians, which makes it less usable for the patients it's intended to benefit."
Further, AMA said CMS's process for providers to review the payments is cumbersome, which limits participation. The medical association also said that while it opposes inappropriate interactions between industry and physicians, some relationships between the groups can help educate doctors and improve patient care (Loftus/Walker, Wall Street Journal, 6/30; Berkrot, Reuters, 6/30; Chen/Tracer, Bloomberg Business, 6/30; Powderly, Healthcare Finance, 6/30; Golab/Sandler, Modern Healthcare, 6/30 [subscription required]).
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