'Sunshine Act' Gets Guarded Reaction

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media , February 6, 2013

The federal government's long-delayed rollout this month of the "Sunshine Act" mandate to disclose financial relationships between drug and device manufacturers and healthcare providers is getting a mostly guarded reception from key groups that will be affected by it.

For the most part, when it came to commenting on the 287-page final rule, those lobbying groups and professional associations avoided trash talking the final rule.

Instead, they followed the cautious lead of PhRMA Senior Vice President Matthew Bennett, who says the drug makers' lobby "is currently reviewing the final regulation of the Physician Payments Sunshine Act and looks forward to seeing how CMS addressed key concerns that were previously raised."

"PhRMA remains committed to the principles of the Sunshine Act and continues to believe that careful implementation is essential to ensuring that Sunshine fulfills its objective of usable, transparent, and understandable sharing of information," Bennett said in prepared remarks.

American Medical Association President Jeremy A. Lazarus, MD, said the nation's largest physicians' association "will carefully review the new Physician Payment Sunshine Act rule."

"Physicians' relationships with the pharmaceutical industry should be transparent and focused on benefits to patients," Lazarus said in prepared remarks. "Our feedback during this rulemaking process was aimed at ensuring the new registry will provide a meaningful picture of physician-industry interactions and give physicians an easy way to correct any inaccuracies. As the rule is implemented, we will work to make sure physicians have up-to-date information about the new reporting process."

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