More than 100 state and national medical societies are trying to water down the Physician Payments Sunshine Act, a law that protects doctors and their patients from undue influence by pharmaceutical and medical device companies. They’re welcome to do that. But they can’t rewrite history in the process.
Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) recently introduced the Protect Continuing Physician Education and Patient Care Act. It would roll back the Sunshine Act requirement that drug and device companies report payments they’ve made to fund continuing medical education for doctors or to send them copies of research studies.
The various medical societies support the new bill, arguing that it wasn’t the “intent” of Congress to exclude doctors from receiving “independent” and “high quality” scientific information.
As the person who wrote the first draft of the Sunshine Act, and then worked for years to get it passed, I’d like to notify American doctors: “Your professional societies are misleading you.” In fact, our concern about corporate bias and poor quality in medical education and scientific publishing was one thing that led us to promote the bill in the first place.
To read the article by Paul D. Thacker, a former investigator on the United States Senate Finance Committee
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