Financial ties between doctors and health firms explored

Federal data shows that doctors and other health care professionals made more than $212 million in speaking and consulting for drug and device makers in the five months at the end of last year, reports The New York Times. But The Wall Street Journal examines one doctor's record to demonstrate that not all the payments reveal potential conflicts of interest.

The New York Times: Financial Ties Between Doctors and Health Care Firms Are Detailed
For some doctors, treating patients isn't the only way to make money. ... In just five months at the end of last year, doctors and other health care professionals made more than $212 million on speaking and consulting engagements for drug and device makers, according to data released on Tuesday by the federal government. ... Although the database also includes payments for research, royalties and other activities, ethicists particularly scrutinize the money doled out for speaking and consulting payments. They argue that these relationships can influence prescribing behavior and negatively affect patients, especially when such ties are lucrative (Thomas and Abrams, 10/2).

The Wall Street Journal's Pharmalot Blog: One Doc Shoulders Aside Criticism Of Sunshine Database Payment
The $7.4 million that Texas surgeon Stephen Burkhart received from a medical device maker earlier this year seems like the kind of eye-popping sum that a new doctor-payment website was created to reveal. But his explanation for the remuneration suggests the importance of carefully examining the sums reported by the federal government's Open Payments database. ... He doesn't dispute the reported payments, which he says are royalties on the more than 25 patents he's received for developing the implants, instruments and techniques used in shoulder arthroscopy surgeries (Rockoff, 10/2).

CQ Healthbeat: Contractor Seen As Partly to Blame For Health Payment Website Woes
A federal website detailing payments drug and device manufacturers made to medical providers experienced technical problems when it launched this week. One of the contractors that collected the data and worked on the open payments system was CGI Federal, the company that built the flawed health insurance website, which was nearly unusable when it launched a year ago. Earlier this year, the Obama administration decided to replace CGI as a lead contractor on the health insurance exchange. CGI also was blamed for problems with health websites in states like Massachusetts and Vermont. But the company has continued to win contracts with the federal government since then. CGI spokeswoman Linda Odorisio declined to comment when asked to provide details about CGI's work or explain its performance (Adams, 10/2).


http://www.kaiserhealthnews.orgThis article was reprinted from with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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