Pharmaceutical and medical device companies make it rain on doctors, hospitals and even medical students on the regular. Members of the pharmaceutical industry promote their companies and drugs through things like free meals, travel compensation and all kinds of gifts, which studies have shown can affect the way doctors prescribe drugs.
The Physician Payments Sunshine Act, part of the Affordable Care Act passed in 2010, says that drug and medical equipment manufacturers whose products are covered by federal insurance programs must report financial transactions between their companies and doctors or teaching hospitals. A couple states already require pharmaceutical and medical device companies to disclose certain kinds of spending, but this will take it to a federal level.
Starting August 1, manufacturers will have to start collecting information about any payments over $10 made to physicians or teaching hospitals, including gifts, compensation for travel or conferences, consulting fees, research funding, royalties and more. By next fall, the public will have access to that information through an online database.
Read the full act here.