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Blumenthal & Grassley Ask HHS to Prioritize Funding for Program to Enhance Transparency in Opioid Prescribing

[WASHINGTON, DC] – In a letter to Acting Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Eric D. Hargan, U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA), asked HHS to prioritize funding for the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ Center for Program Integrity (CPI), a program that enhances transparency in transactions between medical providers and pharmaceutical companies.
Pharma Compliance Digital CRM Marketing Transparence DMOS richard blumenthal Blumenthal & Grassley Ask HHS to Prioritize Funding for Program to Enhance Transparency in Opioid PrescribingThe CPI’s Open Payments database, created under the bipartisan Physician Payments Sunshine Act, mandates disclosure of billions of dollars in payments from manufacturers to prescribers and hospitals. This is of particular concern at a time when over-prescribing of opioid medications has exacerbated a public health crisis nationwide.
“As part of your ongoing commitment to the mission of CPI, we encourage you to continue to prioritize funding and administration of the Open Payments database,” wrote the Senators.
“Recent reports have raised concerns about the effect payments to health professionals may have on opioid prescribing practices, which in many ways has exacerbated this ongoing public health epidemic. Pending litigation against a fentanyl manufacturer has revealed instances of regular weekly contact with high-volume prescribers, in addition to a large number of total payments.”
Blumenthal and Grassley are the lead sponsors of a bill to expand the Physician Payments Sunshine Act disclosure requirements to nurse practitioners and physician assistants, who are currently not mandated to disclose transactions with manufacturers. In July, a report from HHS Inspector General on opioid prescribing practices noted “Nurse practitioners and physician assistants make up one-third of the prescribers with questionable prescribing patterns for beneficiaries at serious risk.”

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