The problem: Clinicians may be unaware that industry payments to physicians are now publicly searchable under the Physician Payments Sunshine Act. Furthermore, the extent of industry's financial involvement in subspecialty practice has not been previously accessible. As an example, 6948 direct, research-unrelated payments totaling $1,957,004 were made to 765 gynecologic oncologists in 2014, the first full year of data available. A total of 153 companies reported at least 1 payment; however, the 10 manufacturers reporting the highest total payment amount accounted for 82% of all payments to physicians. In all, 48 gynecologic oncologists received >$10,000 from manufacturers, accounting for $1,202,228, or 61%, of total payments.
A solution: Obstetrician-gynecologists, including gynecologic oncologists, should be aware of their publicly reported payments from industry and ensure reports' accuracy. Professional organizations, including the Society of Gynecologic Oncology (SGO), should strongly consider proactively developing guidelines regarding interactions with industry for their general memberships.
Keywords: Sunshine Act; conflict of interest; ethics; gynecologic oncology.
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