In the pharmaceutical industry, the European association EFPIA has decided to make the financial benefits of doctors and medical research institutions open to view by all. Similar to the „Physician Payment Sunshine Act“ in the USA, the association wants to have a „Transparenzkodex“, a transparency code, in place by 2015.
The details of the plans regarding the publication of doctors benefits has yet to be decided, and the EFPIA will work closely with the Bundesärztekammer and the Kassenärztlichen Bundesvereinigung in this decision.
In addition, the publications of the flowing of funds into patient organisations could also form part of the doctor benefits publication (scheduled for September 2013). These have been made available online for members of the Verbandes forschender Arzneimittelhersteller (vfa) since 2009.
The „Physician Payment Sunshine Act“ includes extensive consumer and patients‘ rights in health care, and was adopted in the USA 2 years ago. Providers of medicines and medical devices must therefore publish a report annually, detailing the grants paid to doctors and hospitals. The reporting obligations include direct payments, gifts, donations, travel & entertainment expenses, consulting & lecture fees, funds for research & teaching, and investments & stock options.
It is expected that in the middle term – probably in the European Union – this transparency will also move into the German health care system and not even the service providers will be able to stop this.
Companies in the field of medical aids and devices must now ask the question whether transactions with doctors are considered legal in the eyes of the regulatory framework. Service providers should continuously monitor developments on this issue though.