As a group representing the pharmaceutical industry, the recent stance of PhRMA on the Physician Payment Sunshine Act is not what one might anticipate. In a recent article on the The Hill, president and CEO of PhRMA, John Castellani, called for more accuracy and context in the proposed disclosures. He eloquently makes the point that the current industry interaction disclosures as a result of Corporate Integrity Agreements and state laws have in some cases led to some confusion over the payments and inaccurately suggest bias.
The call for more accuracy and context could be seen as going against the wishes of the very companies PhRMA represents. After all, this will likely mean more effort by the companies that will be responsible for reporting. However, the call for more information is made due to the critical importance of maintaining a strong link between the life science industry and physicians. Mr. Castellini makes the case that these relationships improve patient care and maintain the incredible pace of innovation in medicine. I agree with this sentiment.
PhRMA has already published a restrictive code of conduct that its members must follow in interacting with industry. This code and a similar code published by AdvaMed (the industry group for medical devices), establish strong boundaries for industry and physician interactions. These codes and the stance of both groups supporting the Physician Payment Sunshine Act demonstrate the importance of maintaining strong collaboration ties while ensuring the necessary transparency for all involved. I commend both companies for their stances on the Sunshine Act and believe everyone will benefit from the openness that the regulation promises to deliver.