Biopharmas and medical device developers gave a combined $3.5 billion during the final five months of last year to doctors and teaching hospitals, according to a new federal database required under the Affordable Care Act.
The payments tracked by the database—located on the website of the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services—includes funds intended for research, as well as funds for nonresearch services, such as consulting, royalties, and fees for speaking at conferences or other events. A total 4.4 million payments by companies to some 550,000 doctors and 1,360 teaching hospitals from August to December 2013 were tracked.
Research accounted for about $1.5 billion of the total payments tracked—not including data from 190,000 research payments not made public because they involve products not yet approved, or new uses for existing products, The New York Times reported—with another $302 million spent on royalties and licenses.
Bristol-Myers Squibb spent the most on research with $329 million, reflecting the value of medicines used in clinical studies. Its non-research spending, however, was far lower at $11.9 million.
Roche’s Genentech subsidiary spent the most on nonresearch purposes at $135 million—of which $122.5 million reflected royalties to City of Hope, the research and treatment center specializing in cancer, diabetes and other life-threatening diseases toward sales of several products, including the drugs Herceptin, Rituxan, and Avastin, the company told The New York Times, which added that Genentech’s total spending for August–December 2013 was $210.2 million.
Second-highest spender on non-research items was Johnson & Johnson with $68 million expended through its Janssen Pharmaceuticals and DePuy Synthes Sales entities—though a company spokeswoman told Bloomberg the money related to drug candidates, surgical devices and tests designed to benefit patients.
Six individual doctors received more than $500,000 during the period tracked by the database—though nearly half (40%) of doctors were not identified because of difficulties in verifying their identities, according to Bloomberg.