Online tool exposes doctors’ big pharma connections

Online tool exposes doctors’ big pharma connections

A new online tool allows people to search for payments made by pharmaceutical and medical device companies to American physicians.

The Dollars for Docs database allows people to search physicians by name and determine how much money they were paid by medical device and pharmaceutical companies. The dataset includes payments made from August 1, 2013, to December 31, 2015, constituting over $6 billion in payments made to over 800,000 physicians.

The data was made available thanks to the Physician Payments Sunshine Act (PPSA), which was section 6002 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

Payments to physicians from industry companies can take a number of different forms including compensation for speaking at conferences or large royalty payments. In many situations, payments take the form of complimentary meals.

However, research has found an association between industry-provided meals and an increased likelihood to prescribe the promoted brand-name drug instead of more affordable alternatives.

The dataset includes information on physicians who accepted payments but not data regarding payments accepted by nurse practitioners or physician assistants. Furthermore, the data does not cover… (continue reading)