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Medtech Businesses to make Payments to Physicians

It’s no secret that there’s money involved in contacts between Medtech businesses and physicians. Many doctors receive consultation fees or other in-kind compensation from industry representatives who work alongside them, such as food and housing. Surprisingly, even though this issue is well-known, it has received little attention. Even though a similar phenomenon – pharma firms’ payments to physicians – has long been scrutinized.

There has been relatively little investigation into device companies’ payments to physicians. As a result, we don’t know how these financial ties influence which items are picked, let alone how they affect patient care. In May, a new study published in the journal Health Affairs provides further light on the topic, with an eye-opening estimate of how much is spent.

According to the study, medical device companies spent $3.62 billion on physician payments between 2014 and 2017, compared to $3.28 billion by pharmaceutical companies. The critical point here is that Medtech companies spend seven times more as a percentage of overall revenue, despite the minor difference. Physician payments accounted for almost 1.7 percent of total industry income, compared to 0.24 percent of pharma sales.

Their payments to doctors were similarly skewed higher, with 196,624 physicians receiving payouts compared to 331,187 for the pharmaceutical sector. ‘Larger payments may suggest a higher frequency or intensity of interactions with industry,’ the scientists stated. Although the researchers didn’t go into great detail about the consequences, they did lay the framework for future research by asking about some significant problems that need to be addressed.

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