'Sunshine Act' Gets Guarded Reaction

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media , February 6, 2013

Physicians, teaching hospitals, manufacturers and GPOs may review and correct reported information before its publication. CMS is developing an electronic system to facilitate the reporting process.

Reaction to the final rule was mixed at Public Citizen. Michael A. Carome, MD, deputy director of the Health Research Group at the public advocacy group said it "strongly support[s] this new rule and [is] disappointed that it took CMS so long to issue it in final form, now more than a year after the statutory deadline for issuing the final rule has passed."

"We are further disappointed that the date for compliance with the requirements of the new rule are also significantly delayed: initial reports from manufacturers are not due until March 31, 2013 (covering a reporting period that begins in August 2013 and end December 2013) and the initial posting of reported data on a publicly available website will not occur until September 30, 2014. Such delays are unnecessarily long," Carome wrote in an email exchange with HealthLeaders Media

However, Carome says, the rule is needed because "financial relationships between physicians and industry can subtly and not so subtly influence the opinions and recommendations of healthcare providers in a variety of settings."

"Such payments and other transfers of value to physicians from drug and medical device companies are intended to influence physician prescribing behavior in order to benefit the companies' bottom line and do not serve the best interests of patients," he says.

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