Trends in Financial Relationships Between Industry and Radiation Oncologists Versus Other Physicians in the United States from 2014 to 2018

Deborah C. Marshall, Elizabeth S. Tarras, Kenneth Rosenzweig, Sue S. Yom, Jona Hattangadi-Gluth, James Murphy, Deborah Korenstein, Susan Chimonas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

Purpose: The Open Payments transparency program publishes data on industry-physician payments, in part to discourage relationships considered inappropriate including gifts, meals, and speaker's bureau fees. We evaluated trends in physician-level payments to test whether implementation of Open Payments resulted in fewer industry–radiation oncologist (RO) interactions or shifted interactions toward those considered more appropriate compared with medical oncologists (MOs) and other hospital-based physicians (HBPs). Methods and Materials: We performed a retrospective, population-based cohort study of practicing US ROs versus MOs and HBPs in 2014 matched to general (nonresearch) payments between 2014 and 2018. Trends in payments were analyzed and reported by nature of payment. Values of payments to ROs from the top 10 companies were identified. Results: From 2014 to 2018, 3379 (90.3%) ROs accepted 106,930 payments totaling $40.8 million. The per-physician number and value of payments was lower in radiation oncology than in medical oncology and higher than HBPs. The proportion of ROs accepting payments increased from 61.8% in 2014 to 64.2% in 2018; the proportion of MOs accepting payments decreased from 78.7% to 77.7%; and the proportion of HBPs decreased from 40.8% to 37.5%, respectively. The annual per-physician value and number of payments accepted by ROs and MOs increased. Payments in entertainment, meals, travel and lodging, and gifts increased among ROs and remained stable or decreased among MOs and HBPs. Consulting payments increased across all groups. Top RO payors produced novel cancer therapeutics, hydrogel spacers, radiation treatment machines, and opioids. Conclusions: Industry payments to ROs have become more common since OP's inception, while becoming less common for MOs and HBPs. Payments to ROs and MOs have become more frequent and of modestly increasing value compared with other HBPs, for whom the value is decreasing. No large changes in the nature of relationships were seen in ROs. Increased engagement with financial conflicts of interest is needed in radiation oncology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15-25
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics
Volume109
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2021

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