How Much Are Drug, Device Makers Paying Physicians?


In the last 5 months of 2013, Michigan doctors and teaching hospitals received approx. $53 million in payments from drug and medical device manufacturers. This is the most detailed analysis performed by the federal government about the relationship between physicians and the industry.

The Affordable Care Act is requiring transparency about relations between physicians and the industry. Beginning in June of 2015, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services plan to issue annual reports of the physician-industry relationship.

The American Medical Association supports the Physician Payments Sunshine Act, but it is concerned with the accuracy of the information that is released. In 40% of the records, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services was unable to match the physician’s name to the record information. David Fox, a spokesperson for the Michigan State Medical Society, agreed claiming that the report doesn’t provide any context to the patient for why a physician received a certain payment.

Patients should be aware of potential conflicts of interests between physicians and pharmaceutical companies. The Affordable Care Act forces the integration of physicians and hospitals, and it will result in them being paid a set amount for a group of people. Therefore, physicians will have incentive to prescribe the most cost-effective medicine.

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