These 10 Philly Docs Received $12.8 Million from Medical Device and Pharmaceutical Companies Last Year

Pennsylvania ranks sixth in the nation for medical industry cash going to doctors.


Top row, from left: 1. Alexander Vaccaro, Rothman Institute, 2. William Hozack, Rothman, 3. Richard Rothman, Rothman, 4. Joel Cooper, Penn Medicine, 5. Peter Sharkey, Rothman. Bottom row, from left: 6. David Nash, Jefferson, 7. Demetrius Bagley, Jefferson, 8. Robert Booth, Aria, 9. David Anderson, Rothman, 10. Gerald Williams, Rothman

Update: This post has been clarified to more accurately characterize the nature of some of the payments these doctors receive. The payment totals listed are from device makers as well as from pharmaceutical companies.

Original: Last week, the federal government released 11.4 million records detailing $6.49 billion in payments from drug companies to United States doctors between August 2013 and December 2014, as required by 2010’s Physician Payment Sunshine Act. Thanks to non-profit investigative journalism outfit ProPublica, which each year compiles the data into an easier-to-read format, we were able to get a look at some of the doctors in Philadelphia who receive a significant amount of money from drug and medical device companies.

These payments can include things like royalties, promotional speaking fees, consulting work, meals, travel and entertainment. And there’s certainly nothing illegal about a doctor getting paid by a medical device or drug company, assuming that the payments are not kickbacks for using the device company’s devices or prescribing the drug company’s products.

“We fully support the transparency,” says Michael DellaVecchia, president of the Philadelphia County Medical Society. “It’s easy to be for transparency, because we believe that the vast majority of doctors earn their money both in a worthwhile way for society and in an honest way. If someone is working with a pharmaceutical company for a cure for cancer, what’s that worth? What’s the cure for AIDS worth? What’s the cure for hepatitis worth?”

ProPublica reporter Charles Ornstein, who worked on the organization’s Dollars for Docs project, says that for the most part, when patients make changes after reading the data, it’s because they already had concerns about their doctors.

“It comes down to the patient’s gut,” he adds. “Do you trust your doctor? Do you feel like you are getting good advice.”

Pennsylvania is in sixth place in the nation for total disbursements to doctors, with $143 million in payments, falling behind California ($806 million), New York ($312 million), Texas ($243 million), Florida ($188 million) and Massachusetts ($170 million), according to ProPublica’s database. And the biggest earners in the state are here in Philadelphia.

We compiled the 10 Philadelphia doctors with the largest total payments from pharmaceutical and medical device companies. It appears that many big payments to these doctors are for devices*. Click on a doctor’s name to get more information on the doctor and for details on the payments made. Payments are rounded to the nearest thousand.

1. Alexander Vaccaro, Rothman Institute, $2,840,000
2. William Hozack, Rothman Institute, $1,540,000
3. Richard Rothman, Rothman Institute, $1,500,000
4. Joel Cooper, Penn Medicine, $1,420,000
5. Peter Sharkey, Rothman Institute, $1,250,000
6. David Nash, Jefferson, $1,160,000
7. Demetrius Bagley, Jefferson, $934,000
8. Robert Booth, Aria, $760,000
9. David Anderson, Rothman Institute, $729,000
10. Gerald Williams, Rothman Institute, $691,000

To see what your doctor took home from drug companies last year, search by name here.

*This paragraph has been edited for clarity.

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