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Billions Paid to Doctors by Drug Firms and Medical Device Makers

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Records released this week under a provision of the Affordable Care Act reveal that drug makers and medical device companies paid at least $3.5 billion to doctors and teaching hospitals during the final five months of 2013.

The Physician Payments Sunshine Act, part of the 2010 health care law, requires drug makers and manufacturers of medical devices to disclose payments to physicians and teaching hospitals, The Wall Street Journal reports. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services compiled the records into a database posted online on Tuesday. CMS said about 40 percent of the payment records will not identify the recipients because of data problems.

The payments include such things as money for research activities, gifts, speaking fees, meals, or travel. Among the payments reported this week is $122.5 million paid to City of Hope medical center in Duarte, California, by Roche Holding’s Genentech unit as royalties on sales of products including the cancer drugs Herceptin and Avastin, according to the WSJ.

The push for greater transparency was motivated by concern that money and gifts taint doctors’ prescribing and treatment decisions, which should be made on the basis of the patient’s best interests. Sunshine Act supporters say patients will find valuable information about their doctors’ relationships with industry, according to the WSJ. Allan Coukell, director of the Pew Prescription Project, said, “The financial relationships between doctors and drug companies and medical-device companies are a source of conflicts of interest.”

The data released this week covers payments from August through December 2013. Beginning in 2015, companies will report full-year data annually. Companies submitted the 2013 data to CMS earlier this year and were allowed to preview payment records on the Open Payments system so they could dispute records they believed were inaccurate before the information was made public, according to the WSJ. disclaimer: This article: Billions Paid to Doctors by Drug Firms and Medical Device Makers was posted on Friday, October 3rd, 2014 at 6:12 pm at and is filed under Defective Drug Lawsuits.

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