$1.9B paid to physicians, advanced practice clinicians by medical industry in '21: report

Advanced practice clinicians received more payments from drug companies compared to medical device companies, while physicians accepted more funds from medical device companies versus drug companies, according to a new study from Durham, N.C.-based Duke Health.

The same portion of each group accepted payments, but the physicians received a greater sum, according to an Oct. 31 news release shared with Becker's. 

The study defined advanced practice clinicians as nurse practitioners, physician assistants, certified registered nurse anesthetists, anesthesiologist assistants, certified nurse midwives and clinical nurse specialists.

Researchers found that 35 percent of physicians accepted industry payments, including consulting fees, while 35.8 percent of advanced clinicians accepted payments, most often for food and beverages. Payments to physicians totaled $1.75 billion, and payments to advance clinicians totaled $119 million, according to the release. 

Senior assistant resident in the Duke University School of Medicine, Audrey Zhang, MD, said the results raise concerns about the ways industry may be influencing care. 

"Receiving payments and developing relationships with an industry sponsor can encourage use of that sponsor's products," Dr. Zhang said. "The concern is when that practice affects the quality of patient care, especially if it incentivizes lower-value care," Dr. Zhang said. 

The federal government has tracked industry payments from pharmaceutical and medical device companies to doctors since 2013. However, in 2021 advanced practice clinicians were included in the report.

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