Since 2014, The Physician Open Payments program, commonly referred to as the Sunshine Act and now an element of The Affordable Care Act, has required the healthcare industry to adhere to a wide-ranging and complex transparency program to track the transfers of value between life sciences manufacturers and healthcare professionals, and to report these payments publicly on the Open Payments Web site. The regulation was put into place to raise public awareness of the financial relationships between HCPs and life sciences manufacturers, and reduce what some industry critics fear has been an undue influence by those organizations upon medical practitioners. But it leaves many concerned that it could do more harm than good.
Especially since the data itself is not without issues. According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, a group of Johns Hopkins University researchers have objected to the way in which value is assigned to individual research investigators. They pointed out that the value of the drugs donated to the federal government for clinical trials is being wrongly recorded as being made to the individual clinical trial investigators instead of the university where the drugs are used and the work is conducted. The American Medical Association, which supports Open Payments, also has noted that the mere inclusion of a physician on “a public list” may feel like “shaming” to the majority of physicians. The regulation also does not educate the public on the importance of those relationships, which enable HCPs to acquire the continuing education and professional growth they need to better meet the needs of their patients.
Will publicizing transfer-of-value transactions cause HCPs to feel “shamed” by the publicity around their associations with life sciences manufacturers, and cause life sciences companies to become wary of creating the illusion of impropriety? Will both groups abandon decades of constructive activities between them, including conferences and training sessions, and simply do without them?
To read this article by Lisa Keilty, CMP :