Sunshine Act Still Pending before Senate Committee

ePT--the Electronic Newsletter of Pharmaceutical Technology

The Physician Payments Sunshine Act is still pending before the US Senate Committee on Finance, according to Jill Kozeny, communications director for Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA).

The Physician Payments Sunshine Act is still pending before the US Senate Committee on Finance, according to Jill Kozeny, communications director for Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA). “There are ongoing discussions about a possible bipartisan finance committee healthcare-reform bill,” Kozeny told Pharmaceutical Technology. “A comprehensive health bill may ultimately include the sunshine legislation, but there’s no agreement on an underlying proposal at this time,” Kozeny said.

If passed into law, the Act would require makers of pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and biological drugs to publicly disclose their payments to doctors that exceed $100 during the calendar year. A registry of the payments would be posted online, and companies that knowingly failed to report the information would face penalties as great as $1 million. The Act would also require quarterly reports about physicians’ ownership or investment interests in manufacturers of drugs and devices.

The Act reflects several recommendations of the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, an independent congressional agency that advises Congress about Medicare-related issues. Senator Grassley and Senator Herb Kohl (D-WI) introduced the bill, and it was referred to the Committee on Jan. 22, 2009.

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America and Merck (Whitehouse Station, NJ) issued statements in support of the bill in May 2008.