There’s no such thing as a free lunch…. This adage is over 50 years old, and the Office of Inspector General for Health & Human Services (OIG) wants to remind doctors that it remains true.
The pharmaceutical and medical device industry continues to woo doctors with invitations to educational speaker programs in high-end restaurants, with golf excursions, or at sporting venues. On Monday, November 16, the OIG issued a new Special Fraud Alert to remind doctors that speaker programs sponsored by pharmaceutical and medical device companies must serve a legitimate educational purpose and must be appropriately tailored to meet a need in the medical community.
The Open Payments Act requires pharmaceutical and medical device companies to report their spending on entertainment. According to Open Payments data, cumulative doctor payments in the three years from 2017-2019 exceeded $2 billion, and the OIG emphasized that this high amount of spending, and its potential to influence the prescribing or ordering habits of targeted physicians, was one of the reasons for this new alert.