A new study by Dr. Genevieve Pham-Kanter of Drexel University found that 65% of patients in the US, “visited a doctor within the last year who had received payments or gifts from pharmaceutical or medical device companies.”
The study surveyed more than 3,500 adults and used Open Payments to link patients with their physician.
One shocking aspect of the study was only 5% of the patients were aware that their doctors received payments from drug companies.
Information about payments to doctors from drug companies are publicly available because of the Physician Payment Sunshine Act. ProPublica hosts an intuitive database of pharma payments on their website Dollars For Docs.
While many of these payments are often miniscule Dr. Pham Kanter argues that, “We may be lulled into thinking this isn’t a big deal because the average payment amount across all doctors is low. But that obscures the fact that most people are seeing doctors who receive the largest payments.”
Genentech, who settled a major FCA case in 2016, leads the industry in payments with $727 million.