Physician Payments Sunshine Act of 2007

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On September 6, 2007 Senator Chuck Grassley introduced the Physician Payments Sunshine Act of 2007 (S. 2029). In March 2008, Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Oregon) and Rep. Pete Stark (D-California) introduced a slightly different companion bill in the House of Representatives. (The House bill is referred to as H.R. 5605).

Summary

The bill would amend the Social Security Act "to provide for transparency in the relationship between physicians and manufacturers of drugs, devices, or medical supplies for which payment is made under Medicare, Medicaid, or SCHIP." The bill proposed that each quarter after January 1, 2008, companies or their agents that manufacture drugs, medical devices, or medical supplies would be required to disclose all payments of over than $25 in value made to "to a physician, or to an entity that a physician is employed by, has tenure with, or has an ownership interest in."

The bill would also require to provide details on the date, value and nature of the payment, such as whether it was for "food, entertainment, or gifts", "trips or travel", "a product or other item provided for less than market value", "participation in a medical conference, continuing medical education, or other educational or informational program or seminar, provision of materials related to such a conference or educational or informational program or seminar, or remuneration for promoting or participating in such a conference or educational or informational program or seminar", "product rebates or discounts", "consulting fees or honoraria" or "any other economic benefit."

The bill would also require each company to submit a summary report in electronic format. The proposed penalties for breaches were "not less than $10,000, but not more than $100,000, for each such failure."

Current status

<USbillinfo congress="110" bill="S.2029" />

Hearings

Public Debate

When the bill was unveiled, Senators Grassley and Kohl extolled the virtues of disclosure. "Right now the public has no way to know whether a doctor’s been given money that might affect prescribing habits. This bill is about letting the sun shine in so that the public can know. Whether it's dinner at a restaurant or tens of thousands of dollars or more in fees and travel, patients shouldn’t be in the dark about whether their doctors are getting money from drug and device makers." The bill's co-author, Herb Kohl stated in the media release that "At our June hearing, the pharmaceutical industry told the Aging Committee that they believe their practices are above-board. If that is the case, full disclosure will only serve to prove them right. If that is not the case, full disclosure will bring their influence-peddling out from the shadows. Either way, patients win."[1]

In May 2008 the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America stated that they supported a revised version of the bill but only on condition of "the continued inclusion of the provision that preempts state law". In a media statement, PhRMA President Billy Tauzin stated that "PhRMA believes that preempting local and state marketing reporting or disclosure laws that have been enacted or are pending avoids a confusing myriad of local, state and federal requirements that confuse patients accessing the information and are overly burdensome and costly for those required to report."[2]

Articles and Resources

Sources

  1. U.S. Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Herb Kohl, "Grassley, Kohl say public should know when pharmaceutical makers give money to doctors", Media Release, September 6, 2007.
  2. Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, "PhRMA Statement on the Senate Sunshine Act", Media Release, May 22, 2008.

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