SOURCE: Cutting Edge Information

Cutting Edge Information

November 23, 2009 09:17 ET

Pharma Companies Navigate Sunshine Act and Doctor Payments, According to Cutting Edge Information

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC--(Marketwire - November 23, 2009) - Proposed legislation would require every pharmaceutical, biotech and medical device company to report all payments they make to physicians. Included in the Senate Finance Committee's health care bill, the proposed law aims to create more transparency in industry-doctor relationships.

Smaller legislative bodies have required drug companies to report payments since Minnesota passed the first such law in 1993. Today, 32 states in addition to the District of Columbia have discussed or passed their own versions of transparency legislation.

If such a national Sunshine Act passes, drug company teams would alter their processes to comply with legislation, as they have with similar state-level laws.

At present, the challenge for drug industry teams is navigating each piece of approved legislation. They must provide the exact documentation required by each state -- and avoid banned items and payments -- or risk fines of upwards of $10,000 for each infraction.

Several companies in the industry have already taken action to address the increased focus on transparency. Some, like Eli Lilly, Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline and most recently Merck have responded by posting all payments to physicians.

A national bill, however, would ease the challenge of parsing state rules.

"Even people within the industry are calling for national guidelines that would supercede the maze of state-level regulations," says Jason Richardson, president of Cutting Edge Information. "Most companies understand that the future includes transparency, and it will be easier for everyone to settle the issue once and for all."

Even if the Senate's version of the Sunshine Act passes, the new guidelines will not go into effect until March 31, 2012. Until then, companies will continue working within the current compliance rules.

The law would change how teams manage speaker programs. In response to this increasing public scrutiny, Cutting Edge Information recently published "Pharmaceutical Speaker Programs: Measuring ROI and Communicating Value" (http://www.cuttingedgeinfo.com/pharma-speaker-programs/) to provide pharmaceutical companies with key strategies for handling their speaker programs in the current compliance environment.

"Pharmaceutical Speaker Programs: Measuring ROI and Communicating Value" (http://www.cuttingedgeinfo.com/pharma-speaker-programs/) contains an examination of current state legislation affecting speaker programs and strategies to handle the myriad regulations. It also includes speaker program benchmarks, methods to improve speaker bureau management and analysis of future speaker program trends.

A complimentary report brochure is available at http://www.cuttingedgeinfo.com/pharma-speaker-programs/.

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