Gov't website for doc payments not up to snuff

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

WASHINGTON (AP) — The government's new "Open Payments" website is intended to let you find out whether your doctor is getting freebies, travel or other financial benefits from drug companies and medical device manufacturers. But it doesn't make it easy.

For now, the website lacks a "Find Your Doctor" button.

The Obama administration says that's coming. Consumers should start noticing some improvements later this month, particularly with navigation.

However, an Associated Press analysis found significant problems remain, with large chunks of missing information and disputed data, and those are not likely to be cleared up soon.

Disclosure of financial relationships between doctors and industry has long been a priority for consumer advocates. They worry that unseen incentives may influence prescribing decisions, the use of high-tech tests and even surgical procedures.