Shunshine Act

By  |  October 6, 2014 | 

The Physician Payment Sunshine Act (PPSA) is intended to expose any financial relationships that could compromise a physician’s research integrity or patient care. In response to the PPSA, CMS created the “Open Payments” database, into which device-drug-supply manufacturers publicly report any financial transfers to physicians or teaching hospitals. This includes 3 types of payments: “general” payments, research payments, and physician ownership information.

The database was released last week and contains ~2/3 of the payments made by manufacturers in the last 5 months of 2013, including $3.5 billion made to 1,360 teaching hospitals and 560,000 physicians.1

While the intent of the Sunshine Act seems laudable, there are flaws that should be considered by those attempting to digest the information included in the database. As outlined by a recent Annals article, the inclusion of research funding (which includes donated drugs) can result in extraordinary dollars attributed to well-meaning and successfully funded researchers.2 In addition, 1/3 of the data was not released due to concerns about the data integrity; even the existing data contained within the database did not undergo any validation steps or public comment period (by the physician and/or teaching hospital).

It is not clear how this data will be used by the public or by physicians, or whether it will change the behavior of either group. But I am almost certain it will cause all physicians to reconsider the risk and benefits of any financial relationship with manufacturers, regardless of its nature.



Leave A Comment

About the Author: Danielle Scheurer

Danielle Scheurer
Dr. Scheurer is a clinical hospitalist and the Medical Director of Quality and Safety at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, South Carolina, and is Assistant Professor of Medicine. She is a graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Medicine, completed her residency at Duke University, and completed her Masters in Clinical Research at the Medical University of South Carolina. She also serves as the Web Editor and Physician Advisor for the Society of Hospital Medicine.


Related Posts

By  | September 12, 2018 |  1
I just heard. A colleague, a man of integrity and warmth, a hard-working physician with ideals, ethics and many valued contributions, has taken his own life. His perspectives may have differed from mine at times, but every interaction was infused with respect. He was a good man. Much has been written about the rate of […]
By  | September 5, 2018 |  0
It’s been 20 years since my third year of medical school. I studied endlessly, worked tirelessly, and forged the identity that created the physician I am today. Those were the days. I still remember them well. Attendings cursing my missteps in the operating room. My senior resident constantly dressing me down. I arrived at the […]
By  | March 27, 2018 |  1
There is an orange tree in our backyard planted around the birth of our first child. It thrives 11 years later, providing a plentiful bounty of fruit each winter. Nearby, a mango tree was planted when our second daughter was born. That tree never made it; the roots didn’t take hold, and it was gone […]