“Opening the book on long-hidden industry relationships, the federal government revealed nearly $3.5 billion worth of payments and other ties that U.S. doctors and teaching hospitals have with drug and medical-device companies,” reports the Los Angeles Times. The long-awaited product of the Physician Payments Sunshine Act, though, is being universally panned for its poor usability.
The Times reports that the “new federal website includes 4.4 million payments made during the last five months of 2013. More data will be published next summer. Officials said the data cover financial transactions involving about 546,000 physicians and 1,360 teaching hospitals across the country.”
WSJ Pharmalot says the database “toggles the mind” and ProPublica describes it as “virtually unusable” and “worthy of a recall.” ProPublica describes how it managed to access the data, and also provides basic information and an app to allow easy searches on specific doctors, institutions and regions of the country.