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Sunshine Act Reporting: A Letter from CEO Allen S. Lichter, MD

Aug 01, 2013

On August 1, 2013, the Physician Payments Sunshine Act began requiring manufacturers of drugs, devices, and biologicals to collect information on payments made to United States physicians. Passed as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in 2010, the Sunshine Act is designed to bring transparency to financial relationships between physicians, teaching hospitals, and the pharmaceutical industry. The new law requires manufacturers and group purchasing organizations (GPOs) to report certain financial interactions (like research funding, meals, honoraria, or travel reimbursement) between the company and a physician to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) on an annual basis. CMS will post most of this information on a public website by September 30, 2014, and once per year after that.

Members may have questions about how this law will affect their practice. While ASCO is not required to make reports to the government, ASCO is committed to providing you with information on an ongoing basis. To that end, please visit ASCO’s dedicated page on the Sunshine Act for more information, including additional resources from CMS. You can prepare yourself and your practice for this new law by reviewing this information and making sure you understand what interactions with manufacturers will appear on the public website. CMS will provide physicians with an opportunity to register online and review reported payments before public posting. Physicians can initiate disputes if they see any errors. ASCO will inform members when registration and review become available.

Some payments made from manufacturers to physicians indirectly through a professional organization like ASCO, or a charitable organization like the Conquer Cancer Foundation, do require reporting. This means that ASCO may have to give information to a manufacturer if a physician has accepted a reportable payment. The manufacturer would then make a report to CMS. ASCO and the Conquer Cancer Foundation have made a commitment to physician members to clearly communicate in advance whenever an ASCO or Foundation activity could result in a report; members will then have the opportunity to decide whether to participate. Be sure to check ASCO’s variety of member communications vehicles regularly for more updates.

—Allen S. Lichter, MD, FASCO, ASCO CEO
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