August 20, 2008

Legislation Supports National Registry Database of Payments made to Physicians

A revision to the Physician Payment Sunshine Act would establish a national database to be maintained by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and will track the names and addresses of every physician who receives a gift valued at more than $25 from pharmaceutical and medical device companies with $100 million or more in annual gross revenue and would impose fines of $10,000 to $100,000 on any company who fails to report gifts.    A key change from the previous version of the bill is that the new version would override physician sunshine laws at the state level to establish uniform rules and regulations across the country.  The legislation would apply to payments, honoraria, travel, and other rewards to physicians from pharmaceutical and medical device companies but would not apply to drug samples or funding for clinical trials.  The intent in establishing the database is for patients to identify whether their physician’s prescribing patterns could be influenced by the perks the doctor receive from a particular pharmaceutical or drug company.  The revised Physician Payment Sunshine Act has been endorsed by major companies including Eli Lilly and Co., Merck, Astra Zeneca, and Johnson & Johnson.


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