Is Your Drug Rep Reporting You?

The answer is “yes.”  Did you know that drug companies are required to report to the government any payments or financial interest they pay to any doctor?  Starting August 1, 2013, the “Physician Payment Sunshine Act” requires manufacturers of drugs, devices and medical supplies to track and report payments and ownership interests of doctors with very few exceptions.  This information will be collected and put in a public searchable data base in 2014.

“Many doctors say the increased disclosures are making them rethink their relationships with industry, citing concerns about privacy and accuracy, and worry that the public will misinterpret the information. Some fear patients will view the payments as tainting their medical decisions, and will lump together compensation for research-related services with payments of a more promotional nature.

Drug companies collectively pay hundreds of millions of dollars in fees and gifts to doctors every year. In 2012, Pfizer Inc., the biggest drug maker by sales, paid $173.2 million to U.S. health-care professionals. Some companies including Pfizer have decreased these payments in recent years; Pfizer’s total was $195.4 million for 2011.

Consulting and speaking fees are an important source of income for some physicians, who can be paid tens of thousands of dollars a year for such services. But now physicians say they will be much more selective about the work they do and what they will accept from industry representatives.”

Wall Street Journal, August 22, 2013 (link may expire)

How does your practice track payments from drug companies?  Do you have a policy about what gifts/payments can be accepted?  Does someone in your office track such payments?  Since your patients will soon be able to know every dollar your doctors have received, it is important for your office to immediately establish policies and procedures for what is acceptable.

Do drug representatives bring your office lunch or invite you to dinners?  There are many rules about meetings such as these.  Your office needs to have a clear policy on what is acceptable.  Further, are you asking your drug reps what they will be reporting?  Your office should have all financial arrangement policies and conflict of interest statements up to date.  Start now!

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