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Doctor Sunshine – What You May Want to Know About Your Doctor’s Conflicts of Interest

dollar sign scott steiner wiki 200Mesh Medical Device News Desk, July 4, 2016 ~ Questions have been raised by readers – Is my doctor receiving funds from the industry that makes the medical devices or drugs they are using?  Is your doctor in a relationship with a device company as a preceptor, teacher, and consultant?  How might that change his prescribing habits? 

The Physician Payments Sunshine Act of 2010 requires manufacturers of drug, medical devices that participate in federal health care program (Medicare, Medicaid) to reports payments given to doctors and teaching hospitals.sunshine

The reporting is overseen by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and it’s called the Open Payments Program

Find your doctor’s payments in this Search Tool here.

For example, checking on Dr. Dennis Miller, who claims to have helped Boston Scientific invent the Pinnacle Pelvic Mesh kit.  See he background story here.   He claims to have brought the idea of using the Polyform mesh (a sheet of Marlex) and combine it with the Capio, a small hooked device with better access deep into the pelvis to more effectively affix the prolapsing organs. Using the Capio, one could avoid passing trocars or long needles through the pelvic space in a blind procedure.Pinnacle pelvic floor kit brochure recalled by the fda

Dr. Dennis Miller

Dr. Dennis Miller

Dr. Miller’s payments shown total  more than $206- thousand from Boston Scientific as recently as December of last year here.

Readers can also research teaching hospitals or manufacturers. Click on General  to find the doctors on the receiving end of those funds.

Any doctor has 45 days to dispute an error in the public release.

Pro Publica

Investigative Journalism in the public interest, ProPublica  also has a database of payments to physicians.   Dollars for Docs is user friendly, easy to read and is based on data required under the Physician Payment Sunshine Act, part of the 2010 Affordable Care Act.  The payments to doctors and teaching hospitals were made between August 2014 and December 2014. See it here.

Talking Dennis Miller again, the data shows he has received $957-thousand from Boston Scientific, at the top of the receiving end list of physicians.  The money is listed as dollars from a royalty or licensing fee when the doctor shares a patent with, in this case Boston Scientific as he does for the Pinnacle.

Pinnacle, a pelvic mesh used to shore up a pelvic floor and organs, was found to be defective in this country and was recalled here.   However, label changes to Boston Scientific pelvic mesh devices (here) shows it is still being used overseas by Boston Scientific International.   Still royalty or licensing fees delivered to Dr. Miller as recently as November 2014. See it here.

Boston Scientific, for example, made payments totaling $2.42 million to ten doctors and 10 teaching hospitals related to pelvic organ prolapse here.

Doctors include Dennis Miller from Milwaukee, WI, Roger Goldberg of Evanston, Illinois, Peter Rosenblatt of Cambridge MA. , not only for vaginal mesh but for testing of other things like a premarin cream drug and a sacral nerve stimulation device, consulting and licensing fees for devices co developed with the company.

ProPublica allows you to search your doctor in an archive from 2009 to 2013. See Dennis Miller here.

by Jade R.

by Jade R.

ProPublica also offers Prescriber Checkup here,  which shows the percent of claims for name brand drugs. You can check to see how your doctor compares to other prescribers in your state.

Concerned about conflicts?  Here are some questions you may want to ask your doctor:

 

What are the circumstances of this payment?

 

What is your current relationship with this drug or device company?

 

What drugs have you prescribed me (or devices have you used in my care) that are manufactured by companies you’ve taken payments from?

 

Are there non-drug alternatives that I may want to consider first?

 

Are there less expensive generic alternatives to the drugs you have prescribed?

The American Medical Association provides FAQs about the Sunshine Act here. ##

9 Comments

  1. Kitty says:

    Whoa…… Whoa….Whoa… amazing article Jane

  2. Nameless says:

    Very upsetting. Explains s lot. I passed on to non meshies. Just to let them check their docs. This industry is more corrupt than ever could have imagined. How to ever trust.

  3. Leslie C B says:

    Also note, as a former marketing strategy manager and non-practicing attorney working for C R Bard, MiniMed Medtronic & Kimberly Clark, patients should know (PS – I’ve filed federal complaints on this topic years ago now) that sales reps, research fellows, surgeons (especially new ones without the “reputation” to earn the big “donations” to their facilities also by corporations or their affiliated charities (see routing of funds to stock their product)) and/or hospital administrators MAY NOT KNOW ANYTHING about this gifting, product placement and/or charitable donation or direct payment route to doctors, or even to doctors’ families. So, as patients, DO NOT LISTEN TO ANYONE UNLESS YOU CAN OBJECTIVELY CONFIRM IT; this is more like mass racketeering and corruption at high and low levels of staffing – what I’ve federally alleged. We’ll see – but trust no advisors nor doctors nor well-meaning surgeons; lots of this stuff is buried and might take another year or so to truly connect the dots of all the corruption resulting in irreparable harm to women, in just this product category. It’s great to have an objective database with data to check – great work. My guess is it excludes the MILLIONS from international divisions or affiliates of these companies (FCPA violations perhaps), which is the type of division I worked in (criminal activities everywhere, already federally alleged – AGAINST THEM) that go to doctors, their families, sometimes their third and fourth girlfriends, vacations, cruises, extra studies, stipends in hospitals, placement of medical personnel that is family or affiliated and/or special project assignments for research and/or medical recognition/fame. It’s sadistic. Be careful – be objective – be brave. These companies have harmed their own employees and my entire family; today my sister, like me, is attempting bankruptcy, following near fatal illness. It’s my believe these criminal organized families and organizations would prefer the truth and fairness and certainly equality under the law would die out, like their victims and/or whistleblowers (me). In peace – and prayer. Leslie

    • Jane Akre says:

      Thank you for being a whistleblower. It is not an easy route to go and takes a great deal of conscience to make that commitment. I recall a story I did years ago about a doctor at Harvard who had done “research” in pediatric antipsychotic medication. Joseph Biederman…. So many pediatricians followed him because of his sterling reputation, he got lots of research dollars ( J&J) and was a HARVARD. Well as it turns out, Dr. B was NOT reporting the monies he was receiving from drug makers, J&J among them…. and was not revealing that he promised the outcome of clinical trials BEFORE they were concluded.. He is still at Harvard but there was a huge expose about the conflicts of interest. See Wiki here….https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Biederman Think of all the children put on drugs due to his “leadership”…….

    • Kitty says:

      Whoa….again “organized criminal famies” they hurt us but don’t want us to take medication for the pain. SOMETHING SINISTER.

  4. K says:

    Dennis Miller implanted two products in me that I cannot mention by name due to litigation I am in. He is an awful evil man. What bother me most is the problems I began to experience immediately following the implants (one of which was implanted “just in case I ever developed incontince… I had none prior to implant… Implanted ONLY Because he got more money)… Well… I came back three times following implants complaining of pain, newly developed incontinence and other urinary tract issues, and alot of other new, painful and/or distressing issues. All of which had previously been noted by FDA and discussed openly by Dr Miller himself in literature online and in print. (Although he claimed they were “rare”, he did acknowledge they occured. But to me he did NOT admit this. Not only was I not warned prior to surgery about these complications, he vehemently denied after surgery that they could even BE related to the surgery. He said it wasnt possibly due to implants even though he well knew they were. He lied to me and made me feel crazy, whiney and foolish. A hypochondriac. I lived for years of pain believing him. It wasnt until years later after my increasing pain and disability grew severe enough to lose my home, my job, my source of income and my sanity that I found a new urogynecologist who found the severe foreign body reaction to the mesh that had eroded my tissues and ravaged my body with immune and other issues that I had any idea it was the mesh. By then it was too late to go after dr miller. He made sure I was kept ignorant until the statute of limitations had passed so he could suffer no consequences and continue destroying the lives if multitudes of women to line his pockets and defy his false oath to “do no harm” to patients. A horrible, greedy, lying evil demon that man. Any dr who could do that to so many women for so long has no conscience. He was paid millions to destroy lives.

    • Jane Akre says:

      So sorry to hear your eloquent words K. I’m wondering if you could tell them to him someday. I met him at AUGS and you could tell he’s been scorched by this litigation….he lost his precious Pinnacle patent and no longer implants mesh, I believe. He’s afraid of medical malpractice, which at the moment of our conversation I could only imagine he’s faced.

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