Genentech, the maker of Avastin and other pricey cancer drugs, paid physicians and teaching hospitals more than any other drug or device company did in 2014, according to data published last week on the CMS' Open Payments website.
South San Francisco-based Genentech, now a subsidiary of Roche, disclosed $295.4 million in general payments made in 2014, almost four times as much as AstraZeneca, the company with the next highest tally.The majority of Genentech's sum—$254.9 million—reflects royalty payments made to City of Hope, the California comprehensive cancer center that holds the patents on research underlying Genentech's biggest drugs, Avastin, Rituxan and Herceptin.
The median sum received by individual physicians reported in the overall database was $2,318. The Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston accepted $15.4 million, the largest tally among U.S. teaching hospitals. The MD Anderson Cancer Center at the University of Texas in Houston accepted $11.2 million, the second-highest amount.
The data reveal payments made for research, gifts, speaking fees, meals and travel. The website was mandated by the Affordable Care Act to create greater transparency in industry payments to providers. The data posted last Tuesday reflect the first full year of reporting since the initiative launched.
“Consumer access to information is a key component of delivery-system reform and making the healthcare system perform better,” acting CMS Administrator Andy Slavitt said in a news release.
The CMS logged 11.4 million disclosures from 1,444 companies for payments made in 2014. They added up to $6.49 billion paid to 607,000 physicians and 1,121 teaching hospitals.
Ranked by the amount of money promoting particular products, drugs manufactured by Genentech occupied the top three spots, and seven of the top 20. The company disclosed 19,025 payments worth $54 million in connection with Rituxan, a drug used to treat non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and chronic lymphocytic leukemia.
More than 21,000 payments related to Avastin accounted for another $34.4 million of Genentech's tally.The company additionally made 2,178 payments totaling $30.6 million to promote its breast-cancer drug Herceptin.
Physicians have criticized the Open Payments reporting system because it places a burden on them to check the accuracy of disclosures.
The CMS said that it is working to increase the review rate.