Industry Financial Relationships in Plastic Surgery: Analysis of the Sunshine Act Open Payments Database

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Abstract

Background:

Limited data exist regarding industry financial relationships in plastic surgery. The Sunshine Act Open Payments Database currently represents the largest repository of these data, but is limited primarily to queries of individual providers. The purpose of this study was to analyze these data and present them in a manner that better delineates these relationships, and to compare plastic surgery with other surgical subspecialties.

Methods:

A review of the Open Payments Database was performed for the period from January 1, 2014, to December 31, 2014. These data were analyzed with respect to types of payments, characteristics of plastic surgeons and companies, and comparison with other surgical subspecialties.

Results:

A total of 49,053 payments from 274 companies were identified that were made to 4812 plastic surgeons (475 academic and 4337 private practice). The total value of payments was $17,091,077. Food and beverage represented the most common type of payment (82.2 percent). Royalties and licensing represented the highest valued type of payment (35.7 percent), but were received by only a minority of plastic surgeons (0.5 percent). No significant differences were identified between academic and private practice plastic surgeons in the value or quantity of payments. Plastic surgery (54.5 percent) exhibited the lowest prevalence of industry financial relationships compared with otolaryngology (57.9 percent), orthopedics (62.4 percent), neurosurgery (87.8 percent), and urology (63.1 percent) (p < 0.001).

Conclusions:

Approximately half of all plastic surgeons have industry financial relationships. The prevalence of these relationships is comparatively less than in other surgical subspecialties.

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