A website made public on Tuesday provides a detailed look at payments that doctors receive from drug and medical device makers.
The federal website, which was required by the Affordable Care Act, reveals that about $3.5 billion was paid in the last six months of 2013 alone. Those payments–about 4.4 million individual payments to half a million health care professionals and hospitals–represent speaking and consulting fees as well as royalties from products the doctors helped develop.
The new database is being hailed by consumer advocates who say doctors’ financial relationships to drug companies affect their prescribing practices.
Under the new requirements, all makers of drugs, medical devices and medical supplies that have at least one product covered by Medicare or Medicaid must report payments or gifts to doctors.