What the Sunshine Act Brings to Light

Richard N. Peterson, JD

Pharmaceutical and medical device companies have long provided physicians with promotional materials, ranging from imprinted office supplies, gifts, and meals, to consulting fees and sample products. In recent years, however, questions have been raised about the impact of such materials on both prescribing and purchasing habits and patient care and safety.

Calls for increased transparency about the financial relationships between physicians and industry resulted in the inclusion of the Physician Payment Sunshine Act as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. In February 2013, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued final rules implementing the provisions of the act. This and subsequent articles in AAOS Now will provide a broad overview of the Sunshine Act and its regulations; readers with specific questions should seek the advice of knowledgeable healthcare counsel.

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