Boston, Massachusetts -
01/22/2009 - The following is the statement of Robert Restuccia, Executive Director for The Prescription Project, regarding the revised Physician Payments Sunshine Act filed today.
“We commend Senators Kohl and Grassley for their leadership in crafting a bill to create much needed transparency around the financial relationships between physicians and the drug and medical devices industries.
“Pharmaceuticals and medical devices clearly play a critical role in patient care. However, aggressive industry marketing of new drugs and devices to doctors through undisclosed gifts, consulting payments, speaking fees, classes, and meals can inappropriately influence medical decisions and create conflicts of interest.
“Congressional investigations and media reports have highlighted the potential for marketing to exert undue influence on prescribing. By requiring full disclosure of gifts and financial relationships and making that information easily accessible to the public, the Sunshine Act ensures that government and individual citizens alike can make informed decisions about prescription drug and medical device use.
“The Physician Payments Sunshine Act includes many provisions that are essential to a strong and comprehensive federal disclosure law, including:
- a $100 annual aggregate reporting threshold for gifts and payments
- a requirement that all pharmaceutical, biotech and medical device companies and their subsidiaries disclose gifts and payments
- a mandate that state-level data be available to state governments for analysis
“This bill would limit the ability of states to pursue similar initiatives, making it essential that any federal legislation is at least as comprehensive as any existing state measure.”