Minnesota device makers paid over $211 million to doctors and hospitals. Medical device companies in Minnesota made large payments to handfuls of doctors, Star Tribune reports. Newly released federal data looking at payments $1 million or greater indicates that Medtronic PLC and St. Jude Medical paid a total of $81 million to eight doctors across the country. The federal Open Payments database for 2014, which was published Tuesday, shows that Minnesota device makers paid over $211 million to doctors and hospitals for reasons not related to research.
This is the second year that the federal Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services has released data detailing financial relationships between industry and doctors. Star Tribune reports that unlike last year, this year’s data revealed 99 percent of submitted payment information. The first year’s data redacted more than a third of the information.
The data was released under the Open Payments program
The data was released under the Open Payments program, which was created by the Sunshine Act provisions of the Affordable Care Act. The purpose of the program was to create transparency and prevent large companies like Medtronic from using financial incentive to influence medicine.
Many of the payments described in the federal were banned by the University of Minnesota in June; the concern is that these payments may create inflicts of interests in research. “What you’re trying to do is use transparency to make certain that there is no conflict of interest,” said former Gov. Arne Carlson of the data release, according to Star Tribune. “The moment you have a direct relationship between a drug company and whoever is going to facilitate the [research] study, you are going to have a built-in bias.”
The payments described in the database include over a dozen categories, including consulting payments, gifts and honoraria, royalties, stock dividends, and travel and dining. The data showed that in a single year, payments totaling $6.49 billion were made to over 600,000 doctors and 1,100 hospitals.