Financial transactions between physicians and industry can influence oncology care. The Open Payments program was set-up to bring transparency into these interactions. It was also designed to enforce policy-based accountability. This study aims to identify the trends in medical oncologist-industry payments between 2014 and 2019.

The objective of this study is to determine the Open Payments program’s effect on payments. The cohort study covered 15,585 licensed medical oncologists in the US. The study analyzed the program’s reports with industry payment receipts. Data was also collected from the National Plan and Provider Enumeration System. The trends were analyzed using generalized estimation equations and linear regression. The study measured payment value, number, and categories as well as average annual trends.

The subjects received $2.2 million in payments from the industry, valuing $509 million in total. The paid oncologists number decreased by 15.1% from 10498 in 2014 to 8918 in 2019. The annual payments decreased by 3.2% for those who earned less than $10,000 aggregate. But those who received more than $10,000 per year were earning more. The consultation fee grew by 13.7%, while payments for entertainment, meals, travel, gifts, and hotel stay increased by 0.8%.

Fewer oncologists were getting paid after the Open Payments program. But high-value payments got consolidated by a small number of medical oncologists. Consultation and miscellaneous transactions also increased. The program has limited accountability and transparency.