Magazine article Medical Economics

Sunshine Act to Add More Transparency to Physician Income

Magazine article Medical Economics

Sunshine Act to Add More Transparency to Physician Income

Article excerpt

Physicians and drug manufacturers are facing mounting pressure for increased transparency in their relationships with one another. In 2014, a provision of the Affordable Care Act, called the Physician Payment Sunshine Act, will require that all payments to physicians from drug and medical device manufacturers be made public.

AHEAD OF THAT change, one of the largest pharmaceutical companies has decided to stop paying doctors to promote their drugs, which some experts say could be the start of a larger trend.

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), the world's sixth-largest drug manufacturer, announced in December that it is ending direct payments to physicians and other healthcare professionals for speaking engagements and attending medical conferences by the beginning of 2016.

Although GSK will continue to employ physicians for research, consulting and market research, Chief Executive Officer Andrew Witty said the end of direct payments is a necessary change to the company's business model to better meet the expectations of patients.

"These are designed to bring greater clarity and confidence that whenever we talk to a doctor, nurse or other prescribes it is patients'interests that always come first," said Witty in a published statement. "We recognize that we have an important role to play in providing doctors with information about our medicines, but this must be done clearly, transparently and without any perception of conflict of interest."

GSK paid $15.4 million, per quarter, to doctors to promote products, in 2009, according to ProPublica. …

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