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June 30 — Drug and device manufacturers made $6.49 billion in payments to physicians and teaching hospitals over the course of 2014, according to data released by the government June 30.
The data, which were disclosed through the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' Open Payments program, also included the number of physicians (607,000) and teaching hospitals (1,121) that received the payments.
Andy Slavitt, acting administrator for the CMS, said providing consumers with access to payment information is crucial for overall health-care reform.
“In year 2, Open Payments is now a highly searchable resource to provide transparency to over 1 1/2 years’ worth of financial transactions between drug and device companies and physicians and teaching hospitals,” Slavitt said in a June 30 comment.
Data for the final five months of 2013 were released Sept. 30, 2014, and payments to physicians and teaching hospitals totaled $3.43 billion.
The Open Payments program was created by the Affordable Care Act and requires manufacturers of drugs, devices and other medical supplies and group purchasing organizations (GPOs) to report certain payments to physicians or teaching hospitals that are over $10.21.
The CMS said it was able to validate 98.8 percent of all payment records for 2013 and 2014, meaning that the records contained accurate identifying information for the covered recipient.
Payment records that couldn't be validated were discarded.
• general payments, which can include meals, entertainment and honoraria;
• research payments; and
• ownership or investment interests.
Research payments in 2014 totaled $3.23 billion, followed by general payments at $2.56 billion and ownership and investment payments at $703 million.
The bulk of payments went to physicians, including $2.02 billion in general payments, $2.52 billion in research payments and $703 million in ownership and interest payments.
Holly Campbell, a spokeswoman for the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, said PhRMA and its member companies were supportive of the transparency provided by Open Payments program.
“Educating the public about the nature of these collaborations helps patients understand in which ways these interactions can improve both their health and medical innovation,” Campbell said in a June 30 statement.
“Collaboration between physicians and biopharmaceutical professionals is critical to improving the health and quality of life of patients,” Campbell said.
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