SOURCE: 3BL Media, LLCDESCRIPTION:
New guidelines for transparency in the health sector are taking effect as part of the Affordable Care Act. The “Sunshine Act” provision now requires pharmaceutical and medical device companies to report payments and gifts to doctors. The data will be posted on a public Web site implemented by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, starting in the fall of 2014. Each year, drug companies pay hundreds of millions of dollars in fees and gifts to doctors. Pfizer, the biggest company by sales, paid $173 million dollars to health care professionals in 2012. The physician-industry connection was originally established to pay consulting fees to doctors to help companies develop new drugs and determine their best use, and to evaluate medical devices. As the payments have grown in scope and size, questions have been asked whether the fees influence prescribing and other medical decisions. Some drug and device makers, including Pfizer and Eli Lilly & Co, have moved proactively ahead of the new regulations, and have posted physician-payment data online for the past few years. And Roche's Genentech division is launching Sunshine Track, an online portal, that allows doctors to review payment data before it is reported to ensure accuracy. The Sunshine Act requires most companies to follow such leads. This increased transparency should help both healthcare consumers and doctors evaluate the benefits of appropriate investment in improved healthcare practices.
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KEYWORDS: Affordable Care Act, Eli Lilly, Pfizer, sunshine act, Healthcare, healthcare professional, Health, Health Minute, 3bl Media