The latest data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services show that drug and device companies paid just shy of $6.5 billion to doctors and hospitals in 2014, the first full year for which data is available. This money includes payments for research, speaking fees, transportation and meals. It also helps ensure tight relationships between the drug and device manufacturers and health care providers.
Many Americans have deep concerns about these tight relationships among many doctors, hospitals and drug and device companies. They question the extent to which doctors and hospitals who take money from the drug and device companies are conflicted when they prescribe particular drugs or use specific medical devices. So, the Affordable Care Act requires the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to collect and report the amount of money the drug and device companies pay providers, by provider name and type of payment.
You can check out whether your doctors are among the 607,000 who received payments from drug or device manufacturers in 2014 and how much they received. One goal of reporting this data is to keep drug and device companies from inappropriately influencing research, education and health care decision-making.
If your doctors are receiving money from the drug or device industry, talk to them about it. Find out what they are using the money for, and how it affects the drugs they prescribe and the devices they use.