Doctors in the United States received $6.49 billion in payments from drug companies between August 2013 and December 2014, according to records released by the federal government last week.
The non-profit ProPublica, which produces investigative journalism in the public interest, compiled the records released under the 2010 Physician Payment Sunshine Act in a database called Dollars for Docs.
We searched the database to see how much North Carolina doctors were making off of drug companies for promotional speaking, consulting, travel, meals, entertainment and royalties. Turns out it’s quite a lot—ten doctors in Raleigh, Durham and Hillsborough made more than a combined $8 million. The Triangle Business Journal, for example, recently reported
that pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline paid $175,000 to hundreds of Triangle doctors.
There’s nothing wrong with being paid for your time or services, as long as the doctors aren’t being bribed for prescribing the companies’ products to patients.
"The information is useful for beginning an important conversation,” the North Carolina Medical Society said in a statement. “That is its purpose. We support transparency in the relationships doctors have with others involved in patient care."
Here are the doctors who received the most money from drug companies last year; follow the links to see who paid them when and what for:
1. Kimberly Livingston
, Raleigh Neurosurgical Clinic (retired), $2,158,127
2. Robert Isaacs
, Duke Medicine, $1,265,789
3. Christopher Brown
, Duke Medicine, $973,492
4. Gary Felker, Duke Medicine, $556,459
5. Gurvinder Deo
l, WakeMed, $548,605
6. Richard Sykes
, Hillsborough psychiatrist, $510,059
7. Jeffrey Marcus
, Duke Medicine, $497,978
8. Mark Reynolds
, Telecare Mental Health Services (Durham), $471,113
9. R Williams
, Duke Medicine, $432,773
10. Ravish Sachar
, WakeMed, $405,808
If one of these doctors is yours, ProPublica offers some tips
on how to talk to them about the payments they've received. You can also search the database
to see how much your doctor was paid.