Should doc-payment rules require more info?

Drug industry leaders fear Sunshine requirements don't go far enough. As Friday's deadline for commenting on new doc-payment disclosure regulations neared, PhRMA, for one, stepped forward with a request for broader rules. Yes, you heard that correctly: The industry group would like drugmakers to disclose not only names and numbers, but also the purpose of the dollars changing hands.

As Medical Marketing & Media reports, PhRMA worries the Sunshine provisions of healthcare reform will generate a simplistic database of doctors' names and dollar amounts. A sort of rogue's gallery, if you will, with payments that seem illegitimate because they're not explained. "We believe the work physicians do with pharmaceutical companies is of real value, but it takes good context, such as descriptions of research [or of] educational outreach, for patients to understand that value," PhRMA spokesperson Kate Connors told MM&M.

PhRMA President John Castellani elaborated in a blog post for The Hill, saying "a name and a dollar figure do not convey the information learned, the expertise provided, or the resources that went into particular research work," but risks "inaccurately suggesting a physician's bias."

John Kamp of the Coalition for Healthcare Communication agreed, telling MM&M the reporting rules as currently written don't work. "These aren't bribes. These are fees for services provided," Kamp said. His organization called on the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which is charged with developing the rules, to hold the comment period open longer to make sure the regs are right the first time.

- see the coalition's statement
- read Castellani's blog post at The Hill
- read the MM&M piece

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