The Affordable Care contains a number of measures to
improve patient care. The Physician Payment Sunshine Act is one example.
The regulations require drug and medical device makers to disclose any
transfer of value to a physician that exceeds $10. It may include money,
gifts, meals, and other perks bestowed upon physicians. Drug companies
must also report whether a physician or his or her family members have
an ownership stake in the company outside of publicly traded stock. The
goal is to reveal possible conflicts of interest that may compromise patient care.
Los Angeles Times reports, most doctors have pure motives when they prescribe drugs and
device. However, that is not always the case, and some are swayed by the
lavish gifts and meals offered by the pharmaceutical industry. In addition,
studies have shown that doctors who receive food from a company are more
likely to prescribe that company’s products, even though they might
not be doing it consciously.
Therefore, the goal of the Physician Payment Sunshine Act is to make these
payments available to public, so that patients are aware of any outside
influences that may impact their care and can discuss them with their doctor.
The final regulations were released earlier this month. Data collection
will begin on August 1, 2013, but the first report will not be available
to the public until September 30, 2014.