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With all of the pharmaceutical controversies that have popped up over the years, trust between patient and doctor has corroded quite a bit. Perhaps that’s one reason why sites like MayoClinic and WebMD have surged in popularity.
Think about this for a second. Imagine going to your doctor, getting checked out, and being prescribed a certain drug as treatment. Why did your doctor choose Drug A instead of Drug B? Are you absolutely positive that their decision is unbiased and trustworthy? What would you do if you found out they were being paid to push Drug A?
That’s why you need the government-operated website Open Payments Data.
Open Payments Data is an initiative to encourage financial transparency in the healthcare field. It’s still a relatively new tool, having debuted only a few years ago in 2014, but it’s getting better by the day and is already useful enough to help you make better decisions.
In short, Open Payments Data aims to shed light on the nature and extent of relationships between physicians, hospitals, pharmaceutical manufacturers, and GPOs. It’s supposed to help you spot potential conflicts of interest in the counsel given to you by medical professionals.
This website is extremely simple to use. Here’s how it works:
- Type your doctor’s name into the search fields. Click Search.
- Find your doctor in the list of potential matches and click their name.
- Scroll down to see a summary of financial transactions.
- Click Payment Information.
- See who’s paying, how much, and why.
Note that small payments (anything under a few hundred dollars) are normal as these are usually paid to them for small presentations or speaking events. But when a doctor is receiving 4- or 5-figure payments, especially on a recurring basis, that should raise red flags — unless related to royalties or licensing, which indicate that the doctor played a role in inventing or developing a product.
Website — Open Payments Data
What did you find? Are there any other transparency-encouraging sites out there that are similar to this? Share them with us in the comments below!
Image Credit: OpenPaymentsData.gov