The Sunshine Act: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

October 14, 2011 · Leave a comment

Industry Insights from Paul Meade, M. Sc, MPH

The Sunshine Act is on the horizon, and all we know for certain is that things will be different. Will the changes be good, bad, or ugly for healthcare and the biopharmaceutical industry? Well, a bit of all three. But it is a bit like the Y2K scare, or the coming of the end of the world in December 2012 predicted by the Mayans—people in healthcare and biopharma are on alert, and no one really knows for certain how this will all play out.

Let’s start with the good, since there will be greater transparency in the interactions between manufacturers and physicians. The intended outcomes will be greater standards of remuneration for services rendered by healthcare professionals to various manufacturers, some defined threshold limit of activities (type and quantity) deemed permissible by institutions for their affiliated physicians, and a greater sense of awareness of the interactions between healthcare professionals and manufacturers, presumably by a concerned public.

With regard to the first outcome, it is hoped that some kind of industry standard for Fair Market Value will be established for the activities physicians are often engaged in when dealing with manufacturers. It will likely serve to “level the playing field,” so some manufacturers will not pay excessively for a given activity, such as consultative services. As ... read more »

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The Future of Thought Leaders in Healthcare

December 10, 2010 · Leave a comment

Industry Insights from Paul Meade, M.Sc, MPH

For decades, the pharmaceutical industry has had a good working relationship with the medical profession. Of course, pharmaceutical companies have always been dependent on physicians writing prescriptions for their products, and for pharmacists filling these prescriptions, so ultimately the patients could return to health. This has been a true symbiotic relationship where pharmaceutical companies needed doctors to prescribe their drugs, and physicians had effective medicines to offer their patients.

Occasionally, there were a few bad apples on both sides of the equation that overstepped the boundaries of this relationship, but for the most part, it worked well. So what happened? Why the Sunshine Act? And why the apparent “witch-hunt” to expose every Thought Leader that engages with someone from a pharmaceutical company? Is it time for a course correction? Don’t we have bigger problems to deal with in the financial and economic arenas than to worry about how much money a Thought Leader made from conducting clinical studies or speaking at a conference on behalf of a pharmaceutical company?

Where did it all go wrong? How do we fix it? And what does the future hold for this pharma-medical relationship? Healthcare costs have been steadily rising in most countries across the globe. And while there have been increases in these costs, almost no other country has ... read more »

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