August 3, 2015

Question of the Week: Do you trust your doctor less because she takes money from drug and device makers?

By the C|C Whistleblower Lawyer Team

QOTWBy now, it’s common knowledge that doctors and hospitals have financial relationships with healthcare companies, including drug and device makers.  These relationships can include research money, gifts, speaking fees, meals, or travel.  The precise details of such financial ties, however, have long been murky.

Until recently.  Under the Affordable Care Act, the government is required to collect information about these financial relationships and post the data online.  In September 2014, the government did just that when it launched a website called Open Payments.

Since then, media outlets have widely reported the ties between healthcare providers and manufacturers.  On the same day the data became available, for example, the Wall Street Journal reported that drug and medical-device companies paid at least $3.5 billion to doctors and hospitals during the final five months of 2013.  In 2014, that figure skyrocketed to $6.49 billion; at the level of the individual doctor, the median amount all companies paid was $233,376.

In response to the publication of this data—and the unwanted media spotlight it attracted—doctors and other providers have complained that the data unfairly suggests that drug and device makers improperly influence the patient care decisions doctors make.

Do you trust your doctor less because she takes money from drug and device makers?

    Please let us know why in the comment section below.

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    If you would like more information or would like to speak to a member of Constantine Cannon’s whistleblower lawyer team, please click here.

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    4 Responses to “Question of the Week: Do you trust your doctor less because she takes money from drug and device makers?

    1. I would hope if there were any financial relationship between my doctor and the drug or device company selling the drug or product my doctor recommends, that my doctor would disclose that relationship. If he or she did not, I would find another doctor.

    2. Hmm, let’s see. The median amount pharma and device makers paid doctors in 2014 was $233,376. And according to Medscape’s 2015 Physician Compensation Report, the average compensation is $284,000 for specialists and $195,000 for primary care physicians. So a manufacturer’s payments double a doctor’s salary (or more). And the doctor then says the manufacturer has no influence on his clinical decisions, right? Right . . . .

    3. If my health care provider is accepting money from drug & device makers, I HAVE to question whether the recommendations are being made because it is the best interests of my condition or if it may be affected by whatever is being received from them. My provider may not have been influenced by the money, but it is at least a conversation we should have.