“Drug companies are like high school boyfriends. They’re more interested in getting inside you than in being effective once they are there.” This is just one of the hilariously-accurate remarks made by John Oliver, who was a hopeful replacement for Jon Stewart on the Daily Show.
Oliver doesn’t just capitulate to the masses with a few moments of comedic brevity, either. He also steers viewers to a website where they can look up doctors and see what kind of bribes they’ve been accepting from pharmaceutical companies.
The site launched by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) displays the Open Payments website, a database designed to publicly display the payments and other transfers of value pharmaceutical companies and medical device manufacturers have made to physicians and teaching hospitals.
According to the Pew Charitable Trusts, more than $27 billion was spent on marketing to physicians by the pharmaceutical industry in the year 2012. You can do a search to find out if your doctor has been taking money from Big Pharma.
The initial batch of data released by Open Payments covered only the last 5 months of 2013, in which $3.43 billion was received by physicians and hospitals. New information covering the full 2014 calendar year was published on June 30, 2015, revealing that U.S. doctors and teaching hospitals received a total of $6.49 billion from drug and medical-device makers.