October 21, 2019 | The Philadelphia Inquirer

Many Philly-Area Doctors Earn Cash on the Side Consulting for Big Pharma. Does It Mean Anything for Patients?

A study by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania found that the CMS database made patients more aware of the issue. But it concluded that patients did not use the information to make decisions about their care.

“Although it did increase people’s awareness of the issue, it may have made them more cynical toward their own physician and the medical profession as a whole,” said Genevieve P. Kanter, an assistant professor of medicine, medical ethics and health policy at Penn’s Perelman School of Medicine, and the study’s lead author.

Kanter said the findings illustrate a common criticism of health care transparency initiatives: They improve access to information, but leave patients to apply it to their own lives.

And it may be hard for patients to understand the different kinds of relationships doctors have with private industry and discern whether payments pose a threat to their care.

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