Diagnostic radiology physicians net $54M in industry payments

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Pharmaceutical industry companies were involved in payments to diagnostic radiology physicians to the tune of approximately $54 million between 2012 to 2020, according to a recent study.

A team led by Sishir Doddi, of the University of Toledo College of Medicine, assessed industry relationships with diagnostic radiologists and found that from 2012 to 2020, a total of 178,957 industry payments to diagnostic radiologists were made via cash in-kind items and services. The average value of a cash payment was $1,529, and $223 for in-kind items and services.

"By increasing transparency of industry relationships and understanding the nature of these relationships, the impact of industry on patient care can be better understood," the authors wrote, in an article published July 7 in Current Problems in Diagnostic Radiology.

The Physician Payments Sunshine Act 2010 (PPSA) mandated that all industry payments to physicians be publicly recorded in order to increase transparency of industry-physician relationships, the authors noted. To that end, they assessed industry relationships with diagnostic radiologists and compared the relationships with those in oncology, a more directly medicine-related field, they wrote.

The top three payors were Merk Sharp & Dohme Corporation, followed by Hologic and Pfizer, according to the findings.

When comparing payments in diagnostic radiology and oncology, diagnostic radiology received more total payments for each year until 2019, after which diagnostic radiology physicians began to receive more total value in payments. In addition, diagnostic radiology physicians received on average a 10 times greater payment per transaction, according to the findings.

"The results show that pharmaceutical industry payors are significantly involved in radiology and [diagnostic radiology] physicians are receiving greater value of payments from industry sponsors," the authors concluded.

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