Journal of General Internal Medicine

, Volume 33, Issue 10, pp 1604–1606 | Cite as

Industry Payments to Academic Physicians: a Comparison of Reporting to Two Government Agencies

  • Timothy S. Anderson
  • Chester B. Good
  • Walid F. Gellad
Concise Research Reports

The Physician Payments Sunshine Act requires public reporting of payments to physicians by healthcare companies.1 In 2014, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Open Payments database documented over $3 billion in non-research payments from healthcare companies to physicians.2 However, Open Payments relies on company reporting, and its breadth is limited to companies which manufacture federally covered drugs, devices, or medical supplies. While Open Payments marked the first mandatory public reporting of payments specific to physicians, the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) requires companies to disclose compensation paid to directors.3 Prior research has shown that academic physicians frequently receive significant compensation and stock for serving on company boards of directors.4 Thus, physician-director relationships create a unique opportunity to compare two sets of disclosures—those to CMS and those to the SEC.


We conducted a cross-sectional analysis of...


Author Contribution

Study concept and design: All authors

Acquisition of data: Anderson

Analysis and interpretation of data: All authors

Drafting of the manuscript: Anderson

Critical revision of the manuscript for important intellectual content: All authors

Statistical analysis: Anderson

Administrative, technical, and material support: Anderson, Good, and Gellad

Study supervision: Good and Gellad


Dr. Anderson was supported by a National Research Service Award training grant (NRSA T32HP19025-14-00), University of California San Francisco. All other authors report receiving no external funding for this work.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Role of the Sponsor

The funder supported research time for Dr. Anderson and did not fund the study directly; thus, the funder had no role in the design and conduct of the study; collection, management, analysis, and interpretation of the data; or preparation, review, or approval of the manuscript.


Dr. Anderson had full access to all of the data in the study and takes responsibility for the integrity of the data and the accuracy of the data analysis. The contents represent the views of the authors only and not necessarily those of the Department of Veterans Affairs or the US government.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they do not have a conflict of interest.


  1. 1.
    Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Medicare, Medicaid, Children’s Health Insurance Programs: transparency reports and reporting of physician ownership or in- vestment interests. Fed Regist 2013;78:9457–528.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Open Payments. Baltimore, MD: Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services; 2015. Accessed May 11th, 2018.
  3. 3.
    US Securities and Exchange Commission. Electronic data gathering, analysis, and retrieval system. Accessed May 11th, 2018.
  4. 4.
    Anderson TS, Good CB, Gellad WF. Prevalence and compensation of academic leaders, professors, and trustees on publicly traded US healthcare company boards of directors: cross sectional study. BMJ. 2015;351:h4826.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Lo B. Serving two masters—conflicts of interest in academic medicine. N Engl J Med. 2010;362:669–71.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Cherla DV, Olavarria OA, Holihan JL, et al. Discordance of conflict of interest self-disclosure and the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services. J Surg Res. 2017;218:18–22.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Society of General Internal Medicine 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Timothy S. Anderson
    • 1
  • Chester B. Good
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  • Walid F. Gellad
    • 4
    • 5
    • 6
  1. 1.Division of General Internal MedicineUniversity of California San FranciscoSan FranciscoUSA
  2. 2.Center for High Value Pharmacy InitiativesUniversity of Pittsburgh Medical Center Health PlanPittsburghUSA
  3. 3.University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and PharmacyPittsburghUSA
  4. 4.VA Center for Health Equity Research and PromotionPittsburghUSA
  5. 5.Division of General Internal MedicineUniversity of PittsburghPittsburghUSA
  6. 6.Center for Pharmaceutical Policy and PrescribingUniversity of PittsburghPittsburghUSA

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