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Am J Transplant. 2016 Jan;16(1):292-300. doi: 10.1111/ajt.13427. Epub 2015 Aug 28.

Where the Sun Shines: Industry's Payments to Transplant Surgeons.

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Department of Surgery, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD.
Department of Epidemiology, Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD.
Health Policy and Management, Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD.


The Open Payments Program (OPP) was recently implemented to publicly disclose industry payments to physicians, with the goal of enabling patient awareness of potential conflicts of interests. Awareness of OPP, its data, and its implications for transplantation are critical. We used the first wave of OPP data to describe industry payments made to transplant surgeons. Transplant surgeons (N = 297) received a total of $759 654. The median (interquartile range [IQR]) payment to a transplant surgeon was $125 ($39-1018), and the highest payment to an individual surgeon was $83 520; 122 surgeons received <$100, and 17 received >$10 000. A higher h-index was associated with 30% higher chance of receiving >$1000 (relative risk/10 unit h-index increase = 1.18 1.301.44 , p < 0.001). The highest payment category was consulting fees, with a total of $314 448 paid in this reported category. Recipients of consulting fees had higher h-indices, median (IQR) of 20 (10-35) versus nine (3-17) (p < 0.001). Ten of 122 companies accounted for 62% of all payments. Kidney transplant and liver transplant (LT) centers that received >$1000 had higher center volumes (p < 0.001). LT centers that received payments of >$1000 had a higher percentage of private-insurance/self-pay patients (p < 0.01). Continued surveillance of industry payments may further elucidate the relationship between industry payments and physician practices.

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