About a quarter of all doctors take cash payments from drug or device makers and nearly two-thirds accept meals or food gifts. Some prominent doctors and researchers may receive hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars a year in exchange for providing advice to a company or giving lectures on its behalf. There is also a lot of cash being given to doctors’ for travel and entertainment and for gifts or free meals for a prescribing doctor’s staff.
Now the Obama administration is poised to enact regulations requiring that the manufacturers of drugs, medical devices and medical supplies disclose all payments they make to doctors or teaching hospitals. The information, which would be posted on a government web site, will allow patients to decide whether they need to worry about any possible conflicts of interest.
Will the manufacturers of drugs, medical devices and medical supplies find other ways to reward doctors or teaching hospitals?