Annual reporting of industry spending or other “transfers of value” on physicians and other healthcare providers is now in its third year. While public attention on the data (released by CMS at the Open Payments portal) has quieted, pharma companies themselves are looking at the data more closely. The 2017 Trends in Aggregate Spend, Disclosure and Transparency, the eighth in a series from IQVIA (formerly QuintilesIMS), shows that 77% of respondents (from among pharma and med device manufacturers, with a smattering of distributors and others) are applying analytic tools to the aggregate spend data. They are also combining the spend data with other data sets, such as physician master data, prescription/claims reports and call reports, either as a way to monitor overall compliance practices, or to gain business value from the spend data (Fig. 1). So, while the Open Payments system was set in the US primarily for transparency in industry-practitioner relationships, it is now evolving into a competitive business asset as well.
The IQVIA report is also valuable for gaining a picture of how manufacturers are carrying out their reporting tasks. Surprisingly, this year’s report shows an uptick in the number of companies performing this task manually (see Fig. 2)—this year that practice was employed by 27% of respondents, vs. 18% last year (this is probably an artifact of variations in respondents from year to year; this year, there were only 89 US respondents). The plurality of respondents (40%) employ a third-party IT solution, and this year, IQVIA found that 7% of respondents are also using an outsourced provider to perform the data aggregation itself.
Whereas in 2016 IQVIA found 63% of respondents expecting to increase their investment in technology and service solutions, this year there’s a near 50-50 split between companies expecting to increase their investment and those expecting to decrease it. The big difference between then and now is the increased reporting requirements outside the US—transparency rules have gone into effect in Europe, with other regions also coming up. According to Porzio Life Sciences (a competitor to IQVIA in agg spend solutions and services), nearly 40 jurisdications outside the US now have some type of transparency compliance requirement.