Episode: How accurate are dermatologists' COI disclosures? Plus, private equity in dermatology

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How accurate are dermatologists' COI disclosures? Plus, private equity in dermatology

Transparency about industry-supported interactions among physicians was the goal of the online Open Payments database created by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Dr. Vincent DeLeo talks to Dr. Allen F. Shih about a retrospective review of how accurately dermatologists presenting at a major medical meeting disclosed industry conflicts of interest, compared with the OP database. They discuss possible reasons for data discrepancies and provide tips for dermatologists to ensure their COIs are disclosed appropriately. “I think it’s very important for dermatologists to continue to review industry-reported interactions listed on the online Open Payments database and to make sure it is as accurate as possible,” recommends Dr. Shih.

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We also bring you the latest in dermatology news and research:

Private equity: Salvation or death sentence? Depending on whom you ask, the continuing growth of private equity purchases of dermatology practices is either a death sentence -- or salvation -- of the specialty.

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Things you will learn in this episode:

  • All U.S. companies that produce or purchase drugs or devices that are reimbursable by a government-run health care program are required by the Physician Payments Sunshine Act to announce all payments to physicians using the online OP database: “Once a year, the government gives the companies a particular time frame to establish these payments. ... and list the physician, the amount, and the type of payment that they are giving out,” Dr. Shih explains.
  • Speakers at meetings of the American Academy of Dermatology must publicly disclose a full list of industry COIs in the meeting program, including the company name and type of interaction. 
  • A comparison of industry interactions disclosed at the AAD 73rd Annual Meeting in March 2015 vs. the 2014 OP database showed a discrepancy between the two sets of data for about 30% of dermatologists. 
  • The most commonly reported industry relationships among dermatologists were investigator, followed by consultant and advisory board member. “Specifically, among these three roles, the form of payments that dermatologists reported were, number one and number two, honoraria and grants and research funding,” Dr. Shih notes.
  • Overall, 66% of interactions were accurately and fully disclosed by dermatologists when the AAD and OP data were compared. “It looks like [dermatologists] are in line with what other specialists are seeing from other specialties,” Dr. Shih said.
  • Data discrepancies could be industry-reporting inaccuracies, which are not audited. “If you have a payment that you see, you can check it online to make sure it’s not something that was entered under your name erroneously, which has happened before,” Dr. Shih advised.
  • Dermatologists speaking at meetings may fail to report industry payments they feel are outside the scope of their presentation topic. “For example, a dermatologist who goes to AAD to speak about psoriasis may not feel the need ... to disclose items that may be related to a laser,” Dr. Shih explained.
  • Patients can search the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services website for a list of all interactions and type of payments received by any physician by calendar year. “One of the reasons that Congress decided to include Open Payments [in the Affordable Care Act] was to include the transparency and objectivity ... so that patients and providers and the general public alike would be able to find if there were particular biases that physicians were having based on financial interactions that were yet to be revealed,” Dr. Shih explained.
  • Every year, CMS gives physicians a 45-day period to review reported industry interactions for the previous calendar year. For 2019, the review period started on April 1, 2020, and goes until May 15, 2020, during which time physicians can submit corrections to CMS if an error is noted. 

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Hosts: Nick Andrews; Vincent A. DeLeo, MD (Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California, Los Angeles)

Guests: Allen F. Shih, MD, MBA (Boston University)

Disclosures: Dr. DeLeo is a consultant for Esteé Lauder. Dr. Shih reports no conflict of interest.

Show notes by: Alicia Sonners, Melissa Sears

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You can find more of our podcasts at http://www.mdedge.com/podcasts     

Email the show: podcasts@mdedge.com

Interact with us on Twitter: @MDedgeDerm

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