The U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has released Open Payments data reflecting payments and transfers of value paid by drug and device manufacturers to physicians and teaching hospitals in 2017, totaling approximately $8.4 billion in payments and more than 11.5 million payment records. This latest data refresh supplements the Open Payments data already available going back to 2013, when CMS first began collecting and publishing these data. Over that time period, manufacturers have reported more than $33 billion in relevant payments and transfers of value.

Key figures from 2017 Open Payments data

  • Manufacturers reporting payments: 1,525
  • Physicians receiving payments: 628,000
  • General payments (food & beverage, consulting fees, speaking engagements, education, travel and lodging, etc.): $2.82 billion
  • Research-related payments: $4.66 billion
  • Ownership or investment interests: $927.16 million

Focus on compliance?

On its Open Payments site, CMS has highlighted the availability of a dedicated email address for reporting possible violations of these reporting requirements. In an April 2018 report, CMS reported that it has “focused on improving the timeliness, accuracy, and completeness of the reported data,” and that the agency has “targeted potential non-compliant entities through research and data analysis and conducted outreach to educate reporting entities about the Open Payments reporting requirements and their possible misreporting.” Although CMS has the authority to impose civil monetary penalties for late, inaccurate, or incomplete reporting, CMS has not reported the imposition of any such penalties to date.

Disputes and the next refresh

Of the $8.4 billion in 2017 payments, about $35 million remains in dispute. In addition to its annual summer release of the previous year’s data, CMS typically publishes a refresh in January, which reflects additional adjustments to the data, and which should include updates based on the outcome of pending disputes.