News Coverage of CMS Open Payments Data

By Andy Bender

Since the release of CMS Open Payments data on September 30th, numerous news reports have cast a light on the size of payments from pharmaceutical and device companies to physicians and Teaching Hospitals. Articles have focused on the amount of a payment without providing much context to either the purpose of the engagement or to what a highly qualified physician’s time is objectively worth.

For those in the industry, these payments and transfers of value, overall, represent legitimate, and very necessary collaborations with physicians and teaching hospitals, something we tend to forget when we review these numbers. While the media attention may significantly detract from this point of view, the key, substantive focus will be on how the OIG and the DOJ will analyze this data. To be sure, certain payments stand apart from the industry averages. See our breakdown of the payments by category here.

Companies producing such payments should consider putting together an annual report demonstrating to the public what they accomplished with the moneys spent. The annual report could include metrics like number of patients and HCPs trained, number of new drugs developed through research grants and CRO spent etc. In addition, we recommend that companies ensure that they have full documentation for these payments and transfers of value and that they can justify the amount of the payments. Lastly, companies can use a comparison of their spending to this industry-wide data as an input into constructing auditing and monitoring efforts for the coming year.