John Oliver on a recent episode of Last Week Tonight, did another really good piece, this time on Big Pharma and their practice of sending young, pretty, people to buy influence with our doctors.
A key element of it was advertising the existence of another government web site listing lots of doctors: openpaymentsdata.cms.gov. This one provides a glimpse into payments made by pharmacutical companies to doctors for lunches, entertainment, education, or just plain old brides, oops I meant honorariums and travel.
The web site currently only shows data from August to December of 2013, with additional data by June 2015. The drug companies of course started playing games to hide their activities immediately, Johnson & Johnson reported their influence purchasing under 15 different names, making their efforts harder to identify. More critical analysis of the data is available at propublica.org.
Even as obfuscated as the data is, it provides our first view into what the drug companies are paying to push their pretty little pills to our doctors. Allowing a bit of information into the medical market.
This whole thing is driven by that horrible socialistic Obama Care, providing previously unavailable information to help people make informed decisions (in other words it is promoting a fair market!).
By the way, my family physician, got marked as accepting a lunch valued at $18.75 from Pfizer. I'm feeling rather confident that he is not being influenced by Big Pharma; although, his willingness to question the need for tests already had me convinced.