The Sunshine Act requires public reporting of payments to doctors and hospitals (only teaching hospitals) from pharmaceutical and medical device companies. This will include reporting of physician and hospital ownership interests in group purchasing organizations (often a “middle man” between manufacturers and doctors and hospitals). The Sunshine Act, part of the Affordable Care Act (aka, Obamacare), is designed to provide consumers of medical care with objective information on the types of financial relationships that exist between medical product manufacturers and doctors or hospitals.
A common thing I hear from almost all of our clients is ‘I trust my doctor.’ Most people don’t do independent research into the device being implanted or the drug they are prescribed. They trust their doctors to use the best product, not knowing the doctor may have a financial connection to the manufacturer.
The Sunshine Act will benefit patients by providing transparency of the financial relationship between treating doctors and medical product companies.
The Sunshine Act will require reporting of cash payments or transfers of value worth at least $10, and transactions of less than $10 if they total $100 or more in a calendar year. some examples of transfers include stock and other ownership interests, gifts, entertainment, food, travel. Payments for training, speaking, consulting, research, royalty fees, etc., will have to be reported.
The general public has no idea how medical products are marketed. Our hope is that the Sunshine Act will change that.