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Drug companies to disclose doctor payments

Jan. 16, 2012 at 7:23 PM   |   Comments

WASHINGTON, Jan. 16 (UPI) -- Healthcare reform legislation enacted in 2010 requires drug companies to disclose payments made to physicians who are not their employees, U.S. officials say.

The provision in the Affordable Care Act -- pushed by Sens. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, and Herb Kohl, D-Wis. -- requires reporting any payments made to doctors for research, consulting, speaking, travel and entertainment.

"The goal is to let the sun shine in and make information available to foster accountability," Grassley told The New York Times.

The standards require companies that have at least one product covered by Medicare or Medicaid to disclose all payments to doctors, for everything from royalty payments for inventions or discoveries to pharmaceutical sales agents giving $25 worth of bagels and coffee to a doctor's office for a meeting.

The federal government will post the payment data on a Web site, but Obama administration officials say the federal government will not try to define the difference between proper and improper payments.

The officials said in a statement public reporting of financial ties between doctors and drug and device companies "will permit patients to make better-informed decisions when choosing healthcare professionals and making treatment decisions."

© 2012 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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