Drug and device companies paid $8.18 billion to physicians and teaching hospitals in 2016, according to the new Open Payments report. In 2015, such payments equaled $8.09 billion.
The report found 1,481 companies made payments to 631,000 physicians and 1,146 teaching hospitals, up from 632,000 clinicians and 1,118 hospitals last year. The data covered 11.9 million total records.
In the four years of the Open Payments reports, 2,078 companies made nearly $25 billion in payments to 906,000 physicians and 1,220 teaching hospitals.
Open Payments, which was created under the Affordable Care Act, collects information about payments from drug and device companies to physicians and teaching hospitals for travel, research, gifts, speaking fees and meals, as well as ownership interests that doctors and immediate family members have in those companies.
In addition to the annual totals, Open Payments allows anyone to search clinicians by name, city, state, zip code or specialty.
Of the $8.18 billion, $2.8 billion were general payments and $4.3 billion were research payments. Slightly more than $1 billion went to the value of ownership or investment interests, according to Open Payments.
This is the third full year of Open Payment reports and each year has increased over the previous year.
The release of Open Payments data isn’t always a happy day for doctors and the healthcare industry. The American Medical Association (AMA) spoke out about last year’s release stating there were “continued data errors and registration challenges.”
"Patients deserve to have access to accurate information. Publishing inaccurate data leads to misinterpretations, harms reputations and undermines the trust that patients have in their physicians. It can also discourage research and care delivery improvements that benefit patients,” said the AMA at the time.