(HealthDay News) — About 546,000 doctors and 1,360 teaching hospitals in the United States received billions of dollars from drug and medical device makers in the second half of 2013, according to data released Tuesday by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. 

The financial benefits ranged from research grants to trips, and totaled nearly $3.5 billion from August through December last year, the Associated Press reported.

The data — which included the names of companies and many of the recipients — was released under a new program called Open Payments, which was created under the new health care law. The goal is to reduce ethical conflicts in medicine by allowing patients to easily find information about their doctors online. In future, the information will cover the full 12 months of each year.

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The data released Tuesday show that orthopedists, cardiologists, and adult medicine specialists were among the health care providers most likely to receive financial benefits from drug and medical device makers, the AP reported. Cash payments were the most common type of benefit, followed by in-kind gifts and services, and stock options. Some doctors also had part ownership of companies, and this was included in the data.

The companies at the top of the payout list included Genentech, Pfizer, and DePuy Synthes, the AP reported.

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