Drugmakers Spent Millions on Physicians, Hospitals: CMS Database
Genentech, whose scleroderma treatment Actemra recently gained breakthrough therapy status from the FDA, topped the list of drugmakers making payments to physicians and teaching hospitals last year, with at least $274.2 million in general payments and $99.2 million in research payments covering more than 16,000 transactions.
Overall, drug and device companies paid $6.49 billion in fees and gratuities to physicians and academic medical centers for research, meals, travel and other items in 2014, according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ Open Payments database.
Another big spender, Pfizer spent $53.2 million in general payments and $234.2 million in research payments over the course of nearly 700,000 transactions. AstraZeneca and AbbVie joined the list of big spenders, the database shows — doling out $72.5 million and $40.5 million, respectively, on general payments and $85.6 million and $47.4 million, respectively, on research payments.
Many companies list payments made by subsidiaries separately, making it difficult to track how much they spent. For example, Novo Nordisk listed general payments of $23.1 million and research payments of $4.3 million, its Denmark subsidiary Novo Nordisk AS listed general payments of $2.9 million and research payments of $17.5 million.
The website launched in 2014 as the cornerstone of the 2013 Physician Payment Sunshine Act and included the last five months of 2013. The site was updated on Tuesday with all 2014 transactions being posted. The totals show 11.41 million records were published by 1,444 companies making payments to 607,000 physicians and 1,121 teaching hospitals.
To access the Open Payments website, visit www.cms.gov/openpayments/index.html. — John Bechtel