Do you think that your doctor’s recommendations may possibly be influenced by payoffs from pharmaceutical and medical device companies (aka Big Pharma)? As of 2013, a new law requires public disclosure of these payments. Click on this site to search by your doctors’ names to see if any of them or their colleagues received payments, how much, the largest beneficiaries and by which pharmaceutical company. These payments took the form of speaking feeds, consulting fees, and stake ownership (sharing some of the profits from joint ventures in royalty and licensing fees).
Thanks to a helpful provision in the “Affordable Care Act”(Obamacare), Pharmaceutical and medical device companies are now required by law to release details of their payments to a variety of doctors and U.S. teaching hospitals for promotional talks, research and consulting, among other categories. Since August 2013, there were $3.53 billion in payments by big Pharma to 681,000 doctors and 1600 medical companies. There were 4.4 million individual payments made during this period. Forty percent of payments (more than 1.7 million records) did not include the names of the doctors or hospitals that received the payments; the rest did.
For years, Big Pharma’s profitable relationship with medical professionals — the details of which few people knew — drew complaints from many patients, lawmakers, and public health advocacy organizations. Pharmaceutical companies spend nearly $20 billion annually marketing their products to physicians, efforts that yield profits of nearly $300 billion per year in prescription drug sales.
So, the next time your doctor recommends an MRI or some exotic drug, take a look at the payoff search engine just to see if this doctor is making any additional outside money from Big Pharma which may or may not have had some influence on their advice. We all would hope that this were not the case.
Unfortunately it is true a lot of times. This is the point when we decide to leave this happy place for a few hours and go searching for sea turtles. This photo was taken by Michelle, my dive buddy of 40+ years of a sea turtle grazing on grass. They are used to being annoyed by divers holding cameras (both the turtle and the wife). So if you are calm and don’t make any sudden movements, you can usually get very close to take their picture.