More Data Kept from Doc Payments Database
Written by Editor   
Wednesday, September 03, 2014 11:14 AM

Dollars for Docs currently lists $2.5 billion in payments through 2012 from 15 companies representing about 43 percent of U.S. drug sales, but A new problem has emerged with the federal government's Open Payments system, which is supposed to go live Sept. 30 and disclose payments to physicians by pharmaceutical and medical device companies.

A couple weeks ago, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said it would be withholding information on one-third of the payments, citing data inconsistencies in company submissions.

Now, a source familiar with the matter tells ProPublica that CMS won't disclose another batch of payments: research grants made by pharmaceutical companies to doctors through intermediaries, known as contract research organizations.

The idea behind the Open Payments database is straightforward: Provide consumers with transparency and context about doctors' financial relationships with pharmaceutical and medical device companies.  But the effort to make drug and device payments public has been beset with delays. The Sunshine Act called for CMS to propose regulations governing disclosure by Oct. 1, 2011 and for payments to be released by the end of September 2013.  But CMS did not release its proposed rules until December 2011 and did not release them in final form until February 2013. At that time, the agency said the first release would include payments to physicians from Aug. 1 to Dec. 31, 2013. This includes payments for research, promotional speaking, consulting, meals, travel and gifts.

ProPublica has been tracking payments from pharmaceutical companies to doctors since 2010 in our Dollars for Docs news application. The site shows payments by companies that have made this information public, typically under settlement agreements with the government to resolve allegations of improper marketing. Dollars for Docs currently lists $2.5 billion in payments through 2012 from 15 companies representing about 43 percent of U.S. drug sales.

Source:  http://www.medpagetoday.com/PublicHealthPolicy/Ethics/47407