Database crunches pharma's HCP payments

In the run-up to 2013, when federal law will require pharma and device firms to file annual public reports of gifts and payments to doctors and teaching hospitals in excess of $10, several firms are disclosing voluntarily, or as part of corporate integrity agreements. But it's hard to glean a big picture on these financial relationships from raw data.

George Dunston left his job as an in-house counsel at Merck in 2008 to form Obsidian HDS, which aims to gather and present this data in a more usable format. This month the two-year-old firm is ending its trial phase to offer paid subscriptions (consumers will still be able to view and search certain portions for free). So far, registrants include about 40 medical schools, 30 hospitals, as well as individual physicians, pharma companies and marketing and med ed vendors.

“We're closing in on about 100 different industry-related professionals who have registered with us, including from eight of the top 10 largest US pharma companies,” Dunston told MM&M.

Besides providing more data for systems, like Obsidian, that allow organizations to manage payment data, the Physician Sunshine Payment Act “will spark more interest,” said Dunston.

So far one trend jumps out: “A fairly large number of physicians are receiving these types of payments,” said Dunston. “We have over 27,000 physicians in our database so far.”
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