How to avoid scrutiny for drug company payments

For almost a year, ObamaCare has required drug companies to disclose to the public any payment made to a physician.  The Physician Payments Sunshine Act requires drug companies to report certain payments to physicians and teaching hospitals.  This reporting started in August 2013.

As a result of this scrutiny, drug companies have significantly decreased payments made to physicians for promoting their drugs.  For example, Eli Lilly cut payments in 2011 from $48 million to $21 million.  Novartis decreased their payments from $24.8 to $14.8 million.

You may be providing services to a drug company that you believe are worthwhile and necessary for the development of a certain drug that is beneficial to the public.  However, you should ask yourself whether you want your patients to question whether you are prescribing a certain drug because the drug company is paying you.  An “appearance of impropriety” is often as harmful as actually doing something wrong.

You should also be aware that regulators and patients are scrutinizing how much is being paid to physicians for speaking on behalf of certain drugs.

In order to protect your practice, you should have policies that require:

1)  Written Approval:  Have a policy that before anyone in the practice can agree to a paid speaking engagement on behalf of a drug company, they seek written approval from the practice.  This ensures that everyone knows what fees are being taken.

2)  Keep Track:  Keep a separate list of what fees are being received from each company.

3)  Look yourself up:  You should know what is listed under the doctor’s name for payments from drug companies.

If you do not know what amount is being paid to each doctor in the practice, you should find out today.  

If your organization needs assistance complying with the Sunshine Act – we can help.  For assistance CLICK HERE.

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