Sunshine Act to Shine Light on Pharmaceutical Dollars Paid to Doctors

by Mark Friedman  on Monday, Apr. 8, 2013 12:00 am  

He declined to release more information about the company, which will be launched in the next two months.


Pharmaceutical companies said they support the transparency that the Sunshine Act will bring but are concerned that dollar amounts listed will be taken out of context.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services website isn’t final yet, but it doesn’t appear that the website will contain a detailed analysis of what the money received went for, according to CMS information.

That doesn’t make the pharmaceutical companies happy. The database should have enough description to let the public know the background for the transaction and why a doctor might need to meet with a pharmaceutical rep, said Marjorie Powell, senior assistant general counsel at the Pharmaceutical Research & Manufacturers of America, a trade association for pharmaceutical companies.

“It’s really important that everybody understand how important it is that doctors and other health care practitioners and pharmaceutical companies have interaction,” she said.

That interaction educates doctors about new drugs and leads to the development of new medications, she said.

In addition, if a pharmaceutical company is paying for a research project, it might be a large dollar amount, but not all of that money will be income for the doctors. She said the money will have to cover expenses such as paying for nurses.

“It’s not like it’s just extra money,” Powell said.

The Need

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, takes credit for helping launch the Sunshine Act.

He said in a February news release that his investigation and oversight work exposed a number of “questionable financial relationships between drug companies and doctors.”



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