Female physicians collect fewer industry payments: 6 findings

Across nearly every specialty, female physicians in the U.S. received less money from the biomedical industry in 2015 than their male counterparts, according to a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Researchers examined general industry payments, which included research grants, consulting fees and food and beverage expenses. The payments were collected by over 900,000 licensed physicians. To determine the findings, the study used CMS 2015 Open Payment reports of industry payments to U.S. physicians.

Here are six findings from the study.

1. Two-thirds of the physicians in the study were male. When comparing payments for each physician, men received a higher value of general payments when compared with women across all specialties, with a median difference of $1,470.

2. The findings indicated a particularly large gender gap in payments to neurosurgeons, with the largest value of general payments for male neurosurgeons at $15,821, compared with $3,970 for their female peers.

3. The data could also indicate industry bias, which may result in fewer opportunities for female physicians to engage in profitable relationships, or gender differences in physician decision-making, said Kathryn Tringale, MD, coauthor of the study.

4. The study also found that male physicians held 93 percent of the value received from ownership interests, which included stock options and partnership shares.

5. Male physicians received a higher value per-physician across most specialties, with the largest difference among radiologists. However, women physicians in particular specialties, such as obstetrics, gynecology, psychiatry and urology, had comparatively higher ownership interest values.

6. In a subset of over 63,000 licensed California practitioners, male physicians who had practiced medicine for fewer years than female physicians were still more likely to receive general payments and hold ownership interests.

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