Where are the Sunshine Act transparency regs?

The Physician Payment Sunshine Act – Title VI.A of ObamaCare (sec. 6001-6005) – requires many drug and device companies to publicly disclose many of their payments to physicians. All of the data is due to be submitted to HHS starting March 31, 2013. The website should go live to the public on or before September 30, 2013. But the companies need guidance on how to collect and format the data.

Those rules were due out October 1, 2011. Still missing as of this morning.

One thing almost everyone agrees on – the US health care system needs more transparent information on cost and quality. The Sunshine Act is a small part of the larger transparency provisions in ObamaCare, but an important one. We have good reasons to question potential conflicts of interest when physicians receive gifts and money from companies whose products they prescribe. The Sunshine Act doesn’t outlaw these gifts, but merely makes the data transparent so researchers and consumers can observe what is happening.

This federal law built upon previous state laws in Minnesota, West Virginia, Massachusetts, Vermont and others. The state data, while limited and not comparable, has nonetheless proven valuable in several investigations and reports on physicians prescribing while “under the influence.”

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