October 5, 2022

Changes in industry marketing, research payments to physicians, teaching hospitals during COVID-19

By: Judy Mathias

Editor's Note

In this study from Harvard Medical School, Boston, researchers find that the COVID-19 pandemic was associated with shifts in the focus of industry payments for research to physicians and teaching hospitals and an immediate and sustained decline in payments for marketing.

During the study period (2018 to 2021), 705,490 physicians and 4,631 hospitals received $25.2 billion in research payments and $6.0 billion in marketing payments.

In the pandemic period, mean monthly research payments increased by 5.7% ($485.8 million to $513.4 million), and marketing payments declined by 38.6% ($161.9 million to $99.5 million).

The growth in research payments was driven by increased payments for biologics and “not specified” products. Declines in marketing payments occurred across all categories.

Further study is needed to understand the downstream effect of shifts in industry research and marketing payments on innovation and clinical practice, the researchers say.

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