The views expressed here belong to the author. They do not necessarily represent the views of Optometry Times or UBM Medica.
I attended a recent continuing education (CE) meeting at which I heard a couple of lecturers whose corporate bias was coming through loud and clear.
They seemed to assert that this particular eye drop worked better than any other for treating a particular condition.
I knew perfectly well from many years of treating this particular condition without their particular drop on our hospital formulary that this statement wasn’t necessarily true.
While honorable people may differ, I thought they were shilling, plain and simple, so much so that I felt like standing, calling them out, and throwing my water bottle (which I had bought and paid for—it was not a gift) toward the stage.
But rather than make a scene and risk being escorted out by security, I decided to do something much more constructive: text rant to a friend.
“OMG According to So and So, Brand X eye drop cures all! How in the world my patients have not all gone blind without it is a mystery for the ages!”
My friend texted back, “Look them up on the CMS website. While you’re there, check out some other big names.”
Website discloses financial ties
My friend was referring to OpenPaymentsData.CMS.gov, the federal database that was created under The Physician Payments Sunshine Act (PPSA), a section of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) of 2010. The website purportedly shows how much allopathic and osteopathic physicians, dentists, chiropractors, podiatrists, and optometrists receive in payments of various types from medical product manufacturers.
Previously from Dr. Brown: Like books and e-readers, old and new can live together in harmony
I searched the website as my friend suggested, but I immediately wished I hadn’t.
My jaw dropped at the ungodly sums of cash paid out for a few kind words about a product. Had my wife been sitting there, she would have said, “Close your mouth, honey.”
To put this in context, I’m a grunt clinician in the trenches, a peon in the grand scheme of things, who doesn’t get out much.
Usually, I’m too busy trying to scope out a good spot and spread out my belongings in order to make 100 minutes of lecture somewhat tolerable to pay much attention to the corporate disclosures at the beginning of a CE course.
But now that the topic was on my radar, I wondered what that website says about me?