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Physicians Brace for Drug, Device 'Transparency'

Joe Cantlupe, for HealthLeaders Media, August 2, 2013

The Sunshine Act covers gifts or payments valued at $10 or more. The only physicians exempt are medical residents because many do not have a National Provider Identifier or a state professional license.

Ray Quintero, director of government relations department at the American Osteopathic Association in Washington D.C., acknowledges that the information the government receives is "reliant on the pharmacy or device manufacturer. What we are trying to do is prepare our physicians, and ensure that the information is reviewed for accuracy. If something is inaccurate, it should be disputed."

"This is the first time a federal standard has been created around data reporting, and payment," related to pharmaceutical companies and device manufacturers, says PwC's Kellerman. While many companies have prepared for the disclosures, there are significant challenges ahead, he adds.

One hurdle may involve third-party vendors, and the lack of standardization of data "across multiple systems," according to Kellerman. "It's incumbent upon healthcare professionals to keep their eyes and ears open about registration and guidelines and to review the data so they can take ownership of the information that is being published," he says.

According to a 2007 study the New England Journal of Medicine, 94% of physicians had a relationship with the industry; 83% received gifts, and 28% received payments for professional services, such as consulting or research participation.

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