Trend Analysis of Industry Payments to Dermatologists in the United States from 2015-2022

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Nicole Hardy
Christian Gronbeck
Hao Feng


Dermatology, Industry payments, nature of payments, joinpoint, average annual percent change


Background: Open Payments, established in 2013 to address concerns about industry-driven healthcare influence, aims to enhance transparency regarding financial relationships between industry and physicians. This study investigates trends in industry payments to dermatologists between 2015 and 2022, a topic that has not been explored since a prior characterization in 2014.

Methods: We conducted a retrospective review of United States dermatologists appearing in the Open Payments database between 2015 and 2022. A Joinpoint analysis was performed to calculate the average annual percentage change (AAPC) across study years. A sensitivity analysis excluding 2020-2021 data was conducted.

Results: This study reviewed 2,616,289 payments totaling $494,271,790 made to dermatologists during the study period. The average annual percentage change (AAPC) across these years for the number of recipient dermatologists, total value of payments, and total number of payments were 1.5%, 5.5%, and 3.9%, respectively, with confirmed positive growth when excluding data from 2020-2021.

Conclusions: Payments per dermatologist have increased over the years, even when adjusting for inflation, but this growth is likely attributed to the overall expansion of the specialty. Most individual payments to dermatologists were less than $50. However, a substantial proportion of dermatologists (60%) received total payments exceeding $1000 during the study period. These findings suggest a longitudinal nature of industry-dermatologist relationships and emphasize the financial significance of payments over time. Notably, the impact of physician-industry relationships on patient care in dermatology remains debated but may influence medical decision-making and engender patient distrust.


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