What is in this article?:
The final provisions for the The Sunshine Act, which requires pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers to track and publicly report what they spend on physicians at their meetings, were released February 1. Here’s a rundown of how the rule will affect—and why some continuing education providers are breathing a qualified sigh of relief.
Responses to the Final Rule
In a note to members, ACEHP President Jack Kues, PhD, and Damon Marquis, MA, MS, FACEHP, president of the organization’s newly formed advocacy group, the Coalition for CEHP, hailed the final rule for exempting CE program speakers under certain conditions. “This is indeed great news for accredited and certified CME … We in the CE community have drawn a collective sigh of relief—but as we all know, the devil is in the details.”
Chris Lamond, executive director of the Washington, D.C., advocacy group the CME Coalition (which is not affiliated with the ACEHP coalition and has been lobbying for the exemption of accredited CME), said via phone at the ACEHP session, “We believe the original intent of the rule was not to include CME, but it could have been interpreted that way. These exemptions have been added for a reason.”
In a statement released February 1, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), who coauthored the Sunshine Act with former Sen. Herb Kohl (D-Wis.), said the final rule “brings about accountability, and accountability will strengthen the credibility of medical research, the marketing of ideas and, ultimately, the practice of medicine. I will stay vigilant about how this law is implemented, especially after the delays seen already.”
Others are not quite as pleased with the final rule exemptions. Larry Huston, a medical journalist, wasted no time in posting his criticism on the pharma and healthcare section of Forbes.com. The exemptions, he said, only make sense if you believe that accredited CME providers are, in fact, independent. “Remember the wisdom of Deep Throat: Follow the money. Until there is a complete separation of money from CME, CME will continue to be another way for industry to market its products.”
CME, physician, and pharmaceutical industry organizations say they will continue to parse the final rule to iron out any further details. Jeremy Lazarus, president of the American Medical Association, in a statement said the AMA will “carefully review” the rule, adding, “As the rule is implemented, we will work to make sure physicians have up-to-date information about the new reporting process.”