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Walking on Sunshine: Continued surveillance of Industry’s Payments to Plastic Surgeons
Rizwan Ahmed, MD1, Joseph Lopez, MD MBA2, Kate Buretta, MD1, Sunjae Bae, MPH KMD2, Rachel Anolik, MD1, Jeffrey Marcus, MD1, Justin Sacks, MD MBA3, Dorry Segev, MD PHD2.
1Duke University, Durham, NC, USA, 2Johns Hopkins, Baltimore, MD, USA, 3Johns Hopkins, Maryland, MD, USA.

Background:
The Physician Payment Sunshine Act (PPSA) is a government initiative requiring all biomedical companies to publicly disclose payments to physicians. There continues to be misinterpretation and a lack of awareness amongst plastic surgeons, the public, and the media regarding these financial transactions. The goal of this study is to evaluate changes in the PPSA data since its implementation in 2014.
Methods:
Using PPSA data (Jan 2014-Dec 2015), we studied and compared the distribution of non-research industry payments made to plastic surgeons nationally.
Results:
During the 2015 and 2014 fiscal years, industry paid $28,876,097 and $22,215,693, respectively, to ~6,500 plastic surgeons. In both fiscal years, ~25% of all plastic surgeons received <$100, ~50% between $100 and $999, ~15% between $1,000 and $9,999, 3.1% between $10,000- $99,999, and 0.4% in excess of $100,000. The four largest payment categories were: royalty or licensing fees ($7,626,632 to 280 individuals in 2015, $14,408,952 to 27 individuals in 2014); speaker fees ($4,985,035 to 350 individuals in 2015, $5,307,153 to 272 individuals in 2014); consulting fees ($3,404,913 to 360 individuals in 2015; $3,481,382 to 361 individuals in 2014); and meals ($2,652,261 to 6,585 individuals in 2015; $2,203,663 to 6,366 individuals).
Conclusion:
During 2014-2015, ~75% of plastic surgeons received industry payments of <$1,000. The largest payment category was royalty and licensing fees, paid to <0.005%. Over the two-year period, our analysis revealed changes in payments amounts and types. Awareness and continued surveillance of the PPSA data are critical to better understand industry payments to plastic surgeons.


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