Trends in medical device company payments in neurosurgery: a nationwide, multidatabase, geospatial analysis

Anant Naik, Nicholas Peterman, Chandler Berke, Charuta G. Furey, Joseph DiDomenico, Joseph Abbatematteo, Donald Detchou, Joshua S. Catapano, Laura A. Snyder, Michael T. Lawton, Ann Stroink, Paul M. Arnold

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVE Industry partnerships help advance the field of neurosurgery. Given the nature of the field and its close relationship with innovation, neurosurgeons frequently partner with the medical device industry to advance technology and improve outcomes. However, this can create important ethical concerns for patients. In this paper, the authors sought to comprehensively study how physician payments from medical device companies have changed and what geographic parameters influence the trends observed over the years. METHODS The authors queried and merged several large databases, including Medicare and Medicaid provider usage data and databases from the Open Payments Program, National Plan and Provider Enumeration System, and US Census Bureau. Geospatial analysis was performed using Moran's I and II clustering. Univariate and multivariable analyses were performed using the Mann-Whitney U-test and geospatially weighted multivariable regression for hot spot and cold spot membership. RESULTS Data for 952 counties across the continental United States were analyzed. Ninety-seven counties constituted geographic hot spots. These hot spots were primarily concentrated in Florida, the New York-Pennsylvania region, central Colorado, and southwestern United States. Independent predictors of hot spot membership included greater unemployment rates, the percentage of White patients, the presence of mobile homes, and the percentage of county Hispanic and Black populations. Company-based differences were examined. The vast majority of Medtronic's payments were in the form of royalties and licensing (86.6%). Royalties and licensing accounted for the majority of payments for DePuy (69.4%), Globus Medical (62%), and NuVasive (77.1%). In contrast, other companies, such as Boston Scientific, opted to pay physicians in the form of ownership and investment interests (42.1%). The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic was also assessed. During the onset of the pandemic in 2020, physician payments fell or remained the same across all regions with the exception of the South Atlantic region. However, it was observed that nearly all regions rebounded, with stark elevations in physician payments immediately in 2021. CONCLUSIONS This analysis demonstrates that there are national hot spots and cold spots of physician payments, and offers some social, economic, and company-dependent predictors that may influence the magnitude of payments. Further analysis is needed to better understand this clinical-commercial partnership in healthcare, specifically within neurosurgical practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1091-1101
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Neurosurgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2024
Externally publishedYes


  • company payments
  • geospatial analysis
  • medical devices
  • neurosurgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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