by Brad Flansbaum

Posted on The Hospitalist Leader on 02/04/2013

The rules for the Physician Payments Sunshine Act dropped:

Drug, device and medical supply companies must report all payments over $10 to U.S. physicians and teaching hospitals. The data must include date of payment, a description of the service provided, the amount paid and which of a company’s products the payment involved. The data to be released in September 2014 will include payments made from August to December of this year, giving companies enough time to gather and report the information. The companies must turn the data over to the government by March 2014; doctors will then have 45 days to review the information for accuracy before it becomes public The types of payments to be reported includespeaking fees, consulting payments, research, gifts, food, entertainment, honoraria, research grants, royalties and license fees, among others.


More from The Hill:

Companies that fail to properly report payments can be fined between $1,000 and $10,000 for each payment not reported, but the fine cannot exceed $150,000. A deliberate failure to report can lead to a fine of up to $1 million. The rule also stated that it preempts similar state laws, creating the possibility of “cost-savings, since a single reporting system for reporting this information is less burdensome than multiple programs.” One questionin the minds of consumer advocates is how much disclosure will reveal. For instance, if a company gives a doctor a large sum to lead a drug trial and that doctor spreads the money among other physicians who enroll patients, it’s unclear whether those payments would be reported as coming from the drug company.

On the latter point, I would also question whether showering gifts or money on midlevels, nurses, or ancillary staff can have undo influence (yes).  We all see DME and service companies hosting lunch and learns for staff on the wards–surely not healthy and an activity deserving closer inspection.

In addition:

  • A resource-based citation list on provider-industry influence can be found here.
  • Conversely, an alternate reference on why we need ongoing collaboration with industryhere.

FYI–If you cannot wait for the database, ProPublica has one of their own, compiled from registries obtained from pharma settlements with the FDA (past violations).  Put your own or a colleagues name here to inquire further.