Boston Scientific paid a combined $44.7 million last year to doctors and teaching hospitals, with money going toward meals, consulting fees and grants. In the more than 106,000 transactions, the device giant spent about $26.3 million in general payments and the rest for research.
Overall, device and drug manufacturers spent nearly $6.5 billion on research activities, gifts, speaking fees, meals or travel for physicians and academic medical centers in 2014, according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ Open Payments database.
The website allows interested parties to review and download statistics on the 11.4 million transactions connected to more than 600,000 physicians and 1,100 teaching hospitals that transpired last year. The financial reporting is required under the Physician Payments Sunshine Act provision of the Affordable Care Act.
According to the database, St. Jude Medical spent $46.3 million in total general payments and $7.3 million in total research payments in more than 97,000 transactions.
Meanwhile, Zimmer Holding, now part of Biomet, reported $50.8 million in general payments and almost $3 million in research payments in more than 40,000 transactions. Smith & Nephew reported $41.8 million in general payments and $2.5 million in research payments in more than 69,000 transactions.
It’s not always easy to determine how much money a company has given, however. A search for Medtronic yields six company results.
CMS says it plans to upgrade the database at least annually to include updates to data disputes and corrections made since the initial publication. An update to the 2014 data will be published in early 2016. — Elizabeth Hollis