Pharmaceutical and medical device companies paid US$6.5bn in fees to US physicians and teaching hospitals in 2014, according to statistics collated by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) in the United States.
The fees for either participating in drug studies or for more general support including consultancy, event speaking and travel and entertainment costs were made by 1,444 different companies, reveal figures published as part of the Open Payments programme on 30 June 2015.
Research payments totalled US$3.2bn, while general payments made up US$2.6bn of the bill. The US$703m balance in fees fell under industry ownership and investment interests held by physicians or their immediate family.
The CMS-held database revealed that fees were paid to 1,121 teaching hospitals and 607,000 physicians who had payment records. There were around 11.4 million transactions between industry and trusts and physicians in 2014.
The Open Payments programme was created under the reforms brought about by the US Affordable Care Act 2010 — commonly known as ‘Obamacare’ — which aims to give consumers more control over their health insurance. The programme, facilitated by CMS, is a searchable and public database of payments, honoraria or research grants paid by global drug and drug device manufacturers to individual US physicians or teaching hospitals.