AdvaMed Shows Support for Sunshine Act

A letter to to the New York Times was published yesterday, from AdvaMed Spokesperson, Christopher L. White. In it, White establishes support for the Physician Payment Sunshine Act, saying it "complements our code of ethics."

The editorial comes in response to several opinion pieces published over the last few weeks, since CMS issued its draft guidance: 

  • One was from Thomas P. Stossel in the Wall Street Journal, in which Stossel concludes that patients, physicians, and manufacturers lose ground, while "accountants, compliance bureaucrats, and the legions of lawyers" rake in profits and troll the "Sunshine" database to further find evidence of wrongdoing. He also says that critics of such payments have failed to find evidence that these systems actually hurt patients. 
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  • Other pieces from the New York Times include, "Who Else is Paying Your Doctor?" and "U.S. to Force Drug Firms to Report Money Paid to Doctors. These items note that quite a bit of money goes to doctors’ travel, entertainment, gifts, and meal money. The Times stance is that such practices "influence doctors’ treatment decisions and contribute to higher costs by encouraging the use of more expensive drugs and medical devices."

 

I see Stossel's point. The Sunshine Act will provide fodder for lawyers, and line some undeserving pockets. I find it a bit overblown to conclude that critics are deliberately trying to make the medical device and pharmaceutical companies fail, especially after Obama's speech that called out advanced manufacturing as that lifeblood of the new economy.

I don't like fear tactics or "us vs. them" mentalities. However, I do appreciate the argument that begrudging a bagel in pursuit of a doctor's education is off the mark. I might, however, begrudge a week-long conference in Hawaii at a 5-star hotel.

Incidentally, White also explains that the association is developing its formal statement regarding the Act. While we wait, please sound off on our poll, Will the Sunshine Act help or hurt industry?:

 
—Heather Thompson
heather.thompson@ubm.com