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Male physicians paid more from pharma, medical device companies for speaking, consulting services — 6 key notes

Medical device and pharmaceutical companies paid male physicians for speaking and consulting services more than their female counterparts, according to ProPublica analysis published through The New York Times.

Here's what you should know:

1. The federal government compiled a searchable database of payments from more than 1,000 drug and pharmaceutical companies. Of the 300 highest paid physicians, men made up more than 90 percent of total recipients.

2. When broken down by specialty, the data reaffirms the above claims. Of 91 internists on the list of highest paid physicians, 12 percent were women. Of the five obstetrician-gynecologists, none were women.

3. The federal data could be limited by its narrow scope. It covered the last five months of 2013, and more than a third of the dataset was unidentified.

4. However, ProPublica argued the federal data supported ProPublica's data which tracked payments made by 17 companies over four years. Once again, the majority of physicians that received payments were male.

5. ProPublica argued the disparity in payments is reflective of the greater nature of healthcare.

6. Multiple healthcare experts debated the disparity. University of Illinois Chicago Professor Anthony T. Lo Sasso, PhD, argued female physicians specialize and work in fields that "provide fewer opportunities for consulting and speaking work."

While American Medical Women's Association Roberta Gebhard, DO, said she wasn't surprised by the disparity. She said "In my experience, women are less likely to be in the specialty that's going to be tapped," she said. "They're less likely to be asked if they’re in that specialty. And then if they are asked, they are less likely to accept."

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