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'Sunshine Act' Gets Guarded Reaction

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, February 6, 2013

"Ideally, many forms of such payment would not be permitted, and indeed, some medical schools have taken steps to restrict such payments to their faculty members. Neither CMS, nor any other agency, has the authority to ban such payments, and it's unlikely Congress would pass a law prohibiting them."

Mary R. Grealy, however, president of the Healthcare Leadership Council, whose members include drug and device makers and biotech firms, said in a statement that "it is important that the public have a clear understanding of the nature of physician-industry interactions."

"The overwhelming majority of these collaborations are focused on developing safer and more effective medical innovations and helping physicians better understand how to utilize new medications and technologies for the benefit of their patients," Grealy said.

"And, in fact, physicians and medical innovation companies alike regularly demonstrate their commitment to transparency, researcher independence and a patient-centered focus."

Blair Childs, a senior vice president with the group purchasing organization Premier, was one of the few with skin in the game to offer a full-throated endorsement of the final rule. He said it "brings sunlight to an area where consumer confidence has been undermined by conflicts of interest."

"With these new requirements, patients will have the information so they can feel more confident that the treatments they receive are based on evidence-based care and their physicians' best judgment, rather than inappropriately influenced by financial relationships," Childs said in prepared remarks.

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