Industry-Sponsored Research Payments in Neurosurgery-Analysis of the Open Payments Database From 2014 to 2018.

Aimen Vanood, Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine Student
Aryana Sharrak, Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine Student
Patrick Karabon
Daniel K Fahim, Beaumont Health


BACKGROUND: The Open Payments Database (OPD) started in 2013 to combat financial conflicts of interest between physicians and medical industry.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the first 5 yr of the OPD regarding industry-sponsored research funding (ISRF) in neurosurgery.

METHODS: The Open Payments Research Payments dataset was examined from 2014 to 2018 for payments where the clinical primary investigator identified their specialty as neurosurgery.

RESULTS: Between 2014 and 2018, a $106.77 million in ISRF was made to 731 neurosurgeons. Fewer than 11% of neurosurgeons received ISRF yearly. The average received $140 000 in total but the median received $30,000. This was because the highest paid neurosurgeon received $3.56 million. A greater proportion ISRF was made to neurosurgeons affiliated with teaching institutions when compared to other specialties (26.74% vs 20.89%, P = .0021). The proportion of the total value of ISRF distributed to neurosurgery declined from 0.43% of payments to all specialties in 2014 to 0.37% in 2018 (P < .001), but no steady decline was observed from year to year.

CONCLUSION: ISRF to neurosurgeons comprises a small percentage of research payments made to medical research by industry sponsors. Although a greater percentage of payments are made to neurosurgeons in teaching institutions compared to other specialties, the majority is given to neurosurgeons not affiliated with a teaching institution. A significant percentage of ISRF is given to a small percentage of neurosurgeons. There may be opportunities for more neurosurgeons to engage in industry-sponsored research to advance our field as long as full and complete disclosures can always be made.