What is in this article?:
- Many Docs Still Clueless About Sunshine Act
- What About CME?
Survey reveals what doctors know, and don't know, about the Sunshine Act's transparency requirements, from the law's existence to what needs to be tracked and publicly reported. The upshot? Pharmaceutical companies and continuing medical education providers could find themselves losing key physician relationships due to misperceptions about the Act.
What About CME?
While the survey didn’t specifically break out questions about accredited or certified continuing medical education, non-certified CME, and promotional activities, it did ask respondents if they believed educational materials provided for patient education and industry support of conferences would fall under the Sunshine reporting rules. Thirty-nine percent thought that patient-education materials would have to be reported, and 75 percent thought that “conference funding” would also have to be reported.
This is actually a tricky question, because, while accredited CME activities have basically been excluded from the tracking and reporting requirements of the Sunshine Act under the final rule, which was released February 1, at present it appears that honoraria, meal and travel costs, and other activity-related costs for commercially supported non-accredited and promotional activities will be reportable, as will educational materials that do not directly benefit patients.
As MMIS CEO Michaeline Daboul says, the survey results indicate that “there are some misunderstandings out there. Physicians need to know that [accredited] CME will not be reported.” She adds that, if physician associations and specialty societies don’t take up the mission to educate docs about the Sunshine Act requirements, CME providers may have to take on the job, because misunderstandings about what will be publicly report could have potential repercussions on providers, even accredited providers.
She has a point. In another survey that was conducted in the fall of 2012 by the CME Coalition, a lobbying group for the CME community, while 95 percent of the docs said CME was moderately to very important to their ability to keep up with the latest in patient treatments, three-quarters of them said that, if the Sunshine Act’s reporting requirements included accredited, commercially supported CME, it would have some effect on their decision to participate in certified CME activities produced with funding from industry grants. Even though this is not the case, if they believe it is, they may well act accordingly.