Drug and medical device makers paid $6.49 billion to US doctors and teaching hospitals in 2014, according to the federal government’s first full-year accounting of the breadth of industry ties with medical providers. The total comprises payments to more than 600,000 doctors and 1,100 hospitals for services such as consulting, research and promotional activities about drugs, as well as the value of free meals provided to doctors by sales reps pitching products. The 2010 Affordable Care Act included a provision dubbed the Sunshine Act, which requires manufacturers of drugs and medical devices to disclose most payments they make to physicians and teaching hospitals each year. In addition:
- About half of the payments, or $3.23 billion, were research related activities, and roughly 81 percent of those were in the form of cash or cash equivalents.
- Companies spent $804.49 million in royalty or licensing payments and $369.44 million in consulting fees.
- Food, beverage, travel and lodging totaled $403.64 million.