Sunshine Act: The Intersection of Federal Law, Physicians, and Corporate Attorneys

Seth Bilazarian, MD


March 24, 2014

In This Article


My conclusion here is a couple of things. Reprints are considered a transfer of value item. I think that that is unfortunate, because I think that is a really good information exchange. I am not really sure why that needs to be reported. I think that Massachusetts law gets that right and the federal government gets it wrong, but we are all subject to the federal law now.

One potential way to work around this, to some extent, is that if you want posters for your office or some kind of brochure for patients, then nurses can ask for them, because they are excluded from any kind of reporting. If you have some kind of brochure or unbranded information that the companies provide on cholesterol, hypertension, or stents, for example, then the nurses can request that and that need not be reported in the Sunshine Act.

There is a lot of uncertainty by industry -- especially device manufacturers, as I mentioned, which was very disappointing in regard to their responses.

My final summary is that the Sunshine Act is a well-intended government program for disclosure and transparency about relationships between industry and physicians. It certainly makes sense that we have this transparency, but despite this good intention, it is going to have some collateral impact. There probably will be a negative impact on appropriate industry and physician interaction, especially education on new drugs. We are still dealing with the rollout of the NOACs, I would say, and trying to understand their place; industry obviously is promoting their use, but also promoting the education, so I think there could be a harmful impact on patient safety.

The interaction between industry's corporate attorneys, which seems to have been driving the responses I got from the device manufacturers, and federal government implementation and enforcement leaves physicians caught in the middle in this uncertain time of adoption.

Thanks, and until next time, I am Seth Bilazarian.

To download the slides used in Dr. Bilazarian's presentation, click here.


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