Drug, device makers shelled out $7.5B to physicians, teaching hospitals in 2015: 6 things to know

CMS recently published 2015 Open Payments data, which shows payments from drug and device companies to physicians and teaching hospitals increased to $7.52 billion last year, up from $7.49 billion in 2014.

The Open Payments program, also referred to as the Sunshine Act, requires manufacturers to report payments made to physicians and teaching hospitals for research, travel, food and beverage, lodging, licenses and investments.

Here are six takeaways from the 2015 Open Payments data — the second full year of data available.

1. Nearly 619,000 physicians and more than 1,100 teaching hospitals received the $7.52 billion in payments and ownership and investment interests from 1,456 companies in 2015.   

2. Healthcare manufacturers made $2 billion in non-research related payments to physicians last year and $605 million in non-research related contributions to teaching hospitals.

3. Physicians received $86.39 million in research payments from manufacturers in 2015, while teaching hospitals received $724 million.

4. Healthcare manufacturers made $1.03 billion in payments related to ownership or investment interests held by physicians or their immediate family members last year.

5. For program year 2015, 2.26 percent of all financial transactions between physicians and pharmaceutical companies were related to opioid medications, according to CMS.

6. Following the release of the 2015 data, the American Medical Association issued a statement criticizing the accuracy of the information.  

"While we appreciate the efforts of CMS to verify the data submitted by industry, continued data errors and registration challenges during the previous two years have thwarted many physicians from participating in the review and validation process. The integrity goals of the Open Payments database will not be met as long as physician review is obstructed by a registration procedure that is confusing, time consuming, and overly burdensome," said the AMA. 

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