Women in orthopedics may receive fewer consulting, royalty industry payments than men
Results showed female orthopedic surgeons received fewer consulting and royalty payments from industry and for smaller monetary amounts than their male colleagues.
Using publicly available data from CMS, Anne H. Johnson, MD, FAAOS, and colleagues queried all payments from the medical industry to orthopedic surgeons from January 2016 to December 2017. Researchers filtered results to analyze only consulting fees, royalties or licensing fees and determined a physician’s orthopedic practice location, subspecialty and gender by performing an online search using the surgeon’s first and last names. Researchers compared payment quantities between groups of men and women, and further comparisons were made by stratifying results by subspecialty practice and geographic location.
Results showed industry reported 53,844 unique payments to orthopedic surgeons in all 50 U.S. states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico for a total of $815,833,096. Researchers found industry made 61% of the payments categorized as consulting, licensing or royalties to 3,418 (11%) of physicians, which accounted for 88% of the total money distributed.
Researchers noted 98% of the 3,418 physicians who received 88% of industry payments were male vs. 2% who were female, with 99% of men and 0.9% of women receiving single payments. Male physicians were paid $714,226,707 compared with $3,144,135 paid to female physicians, according to results. Researchers found men received greater total payments and had a higher median value of single payments.
Although there are practicing female orthopedic surgeons in all United States territories, except Puerto Rico, results showed female orthopedic surgeons did not receive any money from industry in 24 of the 52 United States territories compared with male orthopedic surgeons who received payments from industry in all 52 territories. Researchers found female orthopedic surgeons in the West North Central regions were least likely to receive payments from industry. Compared with their male colleagues, women in general orthopedics and hand surgery were significantly less likely to receive payments from industry.
“Our study highlights further gender inequities within the workforce; in this case, we found that male orthopedic surgeons receive disproportionally more and higher royalty and consulting fees compared with female orthopedic surgeons,” Johnson, from Hospital for Special Surgery, told Healio Orthopedics. “As the number of women in this field grows, we must continue to strive for equal opportunities for all based on experience, quality of care and expertise rather than gender or race. This goal can be achieved by inviting every person to the table and expanding networks that are open to everyone.” – by Casey Tingle
Lechtig A, et al. ePaper 116. Presented at: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Annual Meeting; March 24-28, 2020 (meeting canceled).
Disclosure: Johnson reports she is a board or committee member for the American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society and the AOFAMISS; is a paid consultant for Medartis, Novastep, Synthes and Wright Medical Technology Inc.; and receives IP royalties from Novastep.