A new version of the Physician Payments Sunshine Act, which would require medical-device makers and pharmaceutical companies to disclose payments and other kinds of considerations given to doctors for consulting and research work, was introduced in the Senate.
Sponsored by Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Herb Kohl (D-Wis.), the revamped bill features greater and more specific disclosure requirements than the earlier version, which was introduced in October 2007. Like its predecessor, the current bill would require medical-product companies to make annual online disclosures of the amount of money or other considerations such as stock options, gifts or in-kind payments made to doctors. But in a move to help patients understand the extent of their physicians relationships with industry, the new legislation would also require an explanation of the types of services for which physicians were compensated.
The disclosures would also be required to include the names of products doctors consulted on or researched, and whether there was a previous-year disclosure violation. Accidental disclosure omissions could cost companies up to $150,000 annually while knowingly failing to report payments to doctors could cost up to $1 million, according to the legislation draft.
Group purchasing organizations would also be required to disclose any physician interest in the organization, under the proposed new bill.