As reported by Liz Kowalczyk of the Boston Globe, Massachusetts has become the first state in the nation to post online all payments that drug and medical device companies make to the state’s health care providers. You can use the database for yourself by clicking here.
For years, Minnesota has published similar information regarding its health care providers, but its database is nowhere near as comprehensive or user-friendly as the new Massachusetts database.
In most of the country, obtaining information about drug company payments to doctors is tremendously difficult. As noted in a previous blog post, Sen. Chuck Grassley had to use some Congressional muscle to get the nation’s largest medical device manufacturer – Medtronic – to reveal the payments that it makes to doctors. In addition, as underscored by the Wall Street Journal’s investigative series “Secrets of the System,” connecting drug company payments to doctors to the types of treatment they prescribe for their patients, is made very difficult by an old federal court order that exempts Medicare from having to provide such information pursuant to Freedom of Information Act requests.
The new Massachusetts database is a good day for transparency and for more open doctor-patient dialogues.
This blog is maintained by the Boston medical malpractice lawyers at The Law Office of Alan H. Crede, P.C. The blog should not be misunderstood as offering legal advice regarding any medical malpractice injury that you may have suffered.