From HealthReformGPS – Update: Physician Payment Sunshine Act
By Jane Hyatt Thorpe and Teresa Cascio
Drug companies and medical device manufacturers commonly collaborate with physicians when developing or modifying drugs or devices. These collaborations may include consulting arrangements through which physicians provide input and guidance related to drug or device development, participation in clinical trials testing the efficacy and effectiveness of the drug or device, or educational programs to train and teach physicians about the benefits of a new drug or in the case of a medical device, how to use the device effectively. In return for their services and expertise, physicians often receive payment or other items of value such as an honorarium and/or travel expenses. These financial relationships between manufacturers and physicians, while largely beneficial, raise concerns about conflicts of interest as physicians’ treatment decisions may be improperly influenced by their financial relationship with a manufacturer. There is also concern in the industry that these types of arrangements are used to disguise illegal kickbacks (e.g., providing money or other items of value in return for prescribing a particular drug or using a particular medical device).