Walter Eisner • Wed, October 1st, 2014

Ready or not and 33% incomplete, CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) released the first round of Open Payments data on September 30, 2014.

The big news?

Big Pharma Rules

We did a quick review of the 4.4 million payments for a total of $3.5 billion paid to 546,000 individual physicians and almost 1,360 teaching hospitals for the last five months of 2013 and found most of it came from Big Pharma and heart device makers.

Companies like Eli Lilly & Company, Shire U.S. Holdings, Forest Laboratories, Amgen, St. Jude Medical, Astra Zeneca Pharmaceutical, Cordis, Ethicon and Johnson & Johnson (non-ortho) dominated the listings.

Seeking Alpha reported that Roche’s Genentech unit led the way in the non-research category with $135 million. Most of this (90%) went to a Southern California hospital network for royalties. Bristol-Myers Squibb was #1 in the research category with $329 million which, according to the company, was largely the value of experimental medicines used in studies. Medtronic, Inc. paid one unidentified doctor approximately $3 million who was among a group of six physicians paid at least $500K by the device maker. The company’s total outlay for the period was $30.1 million. Johnson & Johnson paid $68 million for non-research expenses.

Tom Sullivan of Policy and Medicine reported the following payments:

General Payments: $976,743,814—This figure includes all meals (a huge portion of the data, many of which hover at or below $10); speaker and consulting fees; travel and lodging; educational materials; entertainment; and gifts. There were 4,283,132 total payments in the general database.

  • The identifiable general payment reports 2,720,099 payments for a total of $669,561,563 in payments or transfers of value.
  • The de-identified data reports 1,563,033 payments for a total of $307,182,251.

Research Payments: $1,486,242,674—Pharmaceutical companies spent vastly more on their research endeavors than on general payments. Notably, Sullivan says only about 10% of the research payments are identifiable on the covered recipient level in the Open Payments.

  • The identifiable research payment spreadsheet has 23,226 lines of data equaling $155,815,828.
  • The de-identified data has 199,887 lines equaling $1,330,426,846.




Josh Sandberg

Josh Sandberg is the President of Ortho Sales Partners and Partner for The De Angelis Group. He also serves as Co-Founder and Editor of OrthoSpineNews.

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