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We read with interest a recent study analysing industry payments to pathologists in the USA.1 In this study, Murayama and Hirota analysed general and research payments made to pathologists in the USA from 2013 to 2021 using the Open Payments database. The results reported by the authors may have significant implications for physician–industry relationships, biomedical researchers and the overall healthcare system in the USA. Therefore, we believe it is important to consider several limitations not addressed by the authors in their study.
The Open Payments database was established by the Physician Payments Sunshine Act (42 U.S.C. § 1320a−7b), which requires manufacturers of drugs, medical devices, biologics, and medical supplies and group purchasing organisations (GPOs) to report to the US Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) payments made and investment interests given to physicians and teaching hospitals.2 This law requires physicians, teaching hospitals and GPOs to acknowledge any financial or investment relationships. Manufacturers and GPOs must report any ownership or investment benefits in those companies held by physicians or their immediate family members. The CMS Open Payments database has previously been used to query industry payments to physicians, including in the field of pathology.3 As the authors noted, non-US physicians are exempted from the CMS Open Payments database; however, …
Handling editor Runjan Chetty.
Contributors JWJ and GSB drafted the manuscript. BDA critically revised the manuscript. All authors approved the final version.
Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.