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Physicians Brace for Drug, Device 'Transparency'

Joe Cantlupe, for HealthLeaders Media, August 2, 2013

Over the years, several investigations that have focused on doctors being paid by drug companies whose medicines they prescribe, or for having alleged conflicts with medical device manufacturers who make implants the doctors use.

Last fall, a Senate Finance Committee investigationrevealed what it termed "questionable fees between the Medtronic medical device company and the physician consultants tasked with testing and reviewing Medtronic products. In 2011, a Pro Publica investigation showed that the same drug companies whose medicine they prescribe are paying many doctors.

"(Thursday) is an important day, but not the most important day," says Jonathon Kellerman, principal in PwC's Pharmaceuticals and Life Sciences Industry Group. "It marks when manufacturers must start collecting data. It is an internal challenge. The clock really starts ticking when the first reporting period begins."

Pharmaceutical and device manufacturers are slated to turn over their first reports to CMS on March 31, 2014. Physicians will have a minimum of 45 days to challenge any information before it is public and they may dispute inaccurate reports and seek corrections during a two-year period.

Physicians may also ask manufacturers and their representatives to provide information they intend to report. Doctors may register with CMS, beginning in January 2014, to receive a consolidated report on activities each June for the prior reporting year.

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