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Lawmakers press CMS on sunshine law

by Brendon Nafziger, DOTmed News Associate Editor | October 14, 2011
Sen. Chuck Grassley
Lawmakers took the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to task last week for missing the Oct. 1 deadline for drafting regulations for a new law that requires drug and medical device companies to disclose all fees paid to doctors.

In a letter sent Oct. 3, Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Herb Kohl (D-Wis.) noted their "severe disappointment" with the agency for not getting its drafts out in time.

"The deadline for establishing procedures has passed and there has not been, to our knowledge, adequate consultation with either industry representatives or consumer advocates," the senators wrote.

The Physician Payment Sunshine Act, part of last year's health reform legislation, requires companies to share with the Department of Health and Human Services payments made to doctors, and their names, so the agency can make the information available for all to see on the Internet. Also, the law requires group purchasing organizations and manufacturers to disclose all investments by physicians and their families.

The initial phases of the program are supposed to begin next year. In January, manufacturers and GPOs have to start collecting payment data, and they must begin reporting information to the government by April 2013, the senators said, so the information can be made public by that September.

Violators will be fined between $1,000 and $100,000.

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