Life Sciences

Two-thirds of Americans want to know about payments to physicians

Pharma Compliance Alert, June 25, 2008

Senators Charles Grassley (R-IA) and Herb Kohl (D-WI) gained support from the pharmaceutical industry for their revised Physician Payments Sunshine Act and now the public is voicing its support.
 
The Prescription Project survey of 1,009 people found 64% of Americans think it’s important to know whether their physician accepts money from the pharmaceutical industry. In addition, 68% said they would support legislation to make disclosure mandatory. Slightly more than half of those surveyed said they believe gifts from pharmaceutical companies influence physicians’ prescribing habits.
 
The Physician Payments Sunshine Act (S.2029 and H.R.5605), currently being considered by Congress, would require drug and medical device manufacturers to report certain gifts and payments given to physicians. The legislation would create a publicly accessible national online database of gifts and payments, and would impose financial penalties on companies that fail to disclose.
 
In April, the Massachusetts Senate passed a bill banning all gifts to physicians. The State House of Representatives is still considering the bill. New York Governor David Paterson introduced a law in May that would prohibit New York physicians from accepting gifts over $50 a year and would require physicians who give presentations at continuing medical education events to reveal financial ties to pharmaceutical companies.
 
Minnesota, Maine, West Virginia, Vermont, California, Nevada, and Washington D.C. all have some type of gift-giving limit or disclosure law.

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