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Physician payments

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Since 2010, drug manufacturers and medical device companies in the US have had to to track and report their relationships with physicians (including any payments or items of value that they have offered). The “Physician Payments Sunshine Act” aims to increase the transparency of financial relationships between health care providers and pharmaceutical manufacturers and to uncover potential conflicts of interest.

Europe is never far behind the US so it is no surprise that moves are afoot in Europe, Australia, Japan and Canada to implement similar monitoring approaches. The European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA) introduced the EFPIA Disclosure Code in 2013 with the support of its 33 national pharmaceutical industry associations. Data are being collected now for disclosure in 2016 [1].

France, Portugal and Slovakia have already enacted Sunshine Acts of their own. Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Italy and Spain have sunshine rules but no specific legislation in place. The Netherlands, Poland, Sweden and the UK don’t have any laws or rules currently in place, but all have approved use of the EFPIA Disclosure Code.

The legislation and rules adopted so far involve drug and medical device industries being transparent about the transfers of value that they make. The UK took the next step into transparency when Jeremy Hunt announced in August a new “Sunshine Rule” that will require all members of staff of NHS hospitals or GP groups to declare full details of all the perks that they receive from pharmaceutical firms. Failure to declare benefits will result in disciplinary action while actual wrongdoing will lead to prosecution under the Bribery Act 2010 or the Fraud Act 2006 [2].

Nobody has yet revealed what the cost will be for the NHS to employ appropriate staff to manage the new register!

 

If you would like to comment on any of the issues raised by this article, particularly from your own experience or insight, Healthcare-Arena would welcome your views.

References

  1. Wechsler J. ‘Sunshine’ Goes Global [Internet]. [cited 2015 Sep 24]. Available from: http://www.pharmexec.com/sunshine-goes-global?eid=177401626&bid=1170820
  2. Ross T. Jeremy Hunt: NHS bosses face jail over links to drug firms [Internet]. 2015 [cited 2015 Sep 24]. Available from: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/health/11818749/Jeremy-Hunt-NHS-bosses-face-jail-over-links-to-drug-firms.html

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