Sector News

Sunshine Act payment data leaves out newly influential prescribers

July 8, 2015
Life sciences
The Physician Payments Sunshine Act was meant to shine a light on pharma’s payments to doctors, boosting transparency and potentially reducing unsavory business practices. But the act leaves out a big chunk of prescribers: nurse practitioners and physician assistants (PAs).
 
As NPR reports, nurse practitioners and PAs play an increasingly large role in healthcare, taking on many of the same tasks as doctors. PAs and nurses wrote about 10% of the nearly 1.4 billion prescriptions in Medicare’s prescription drug program in 2013, according to a ProPublica analysis cited by NPR. The two groups wrote 15% of all scripts nationwide during the first 5 months of the same year, an IMS Health study notes.
 
While pharma’s relationships with doctors have historically drawn the most attention, nurses’ interactions with the industry have “as much relevance,” Dr. Walid Gellad, co-director of the University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Pharmaceutical Policy and Prescribing, told the news outlet. “If the purpose of the act is to shine a light on the relationship between industry and the healthcare sector, then you’ve left out an important component of that sector,” he said.
 
When the Sunshine Act was drafted, nursing groups weren’t covered by the law and thus weren’t a part of policy discussions, Allan Coukell, senior director for health programs at the Pew Charitable Trusts, told NPR. But just because that’s how the system worked in the past doesn’t mean it should continue in the same vein, he added.
 
“(T)o the extent that a lot of prescribing now is done by health professionals who aren’t physicians, and a lot of marketing is directed at them, they ideally should also be part of the disclosure,” Coukell said (as quoted by NPR).
 
Meanwhile, the industry has slowly begun to change its tune when it comes to interactions with healthcare providers. In 2013, GlaxoSmithKline CEO Andrew Witty pledged to end doctor payments by 2016 to give the company’s image a much-needed boost. While the company has yet to make big moves in that department, GSK plans to roll out a new suite of services by 2016 to replace paid speakers, loosening its ties with doctors. “We expect overall payments to continue decreasing as we continue to implement our new approach to working with healthcare professionals,” company spokeswoman Sarah Alspach told Bloomberg last month.
 
By Emily Wasserman
 

comments closed

Related News

November 28, 2021

Founder-led biotech is making space for ideas—and diverse leaders—where it didn’t exist before

Life sciences

Decades ago, the founder-led biotech was rare and considered the tougher path to follow. Now there is a trend of founder-led biotechs that have risen in prominence in recent years, going from startup to well known with lightning speed. Scientists-turned C-suite occupants know their technology inside out. They’ve got credibility both at the bench working with their research teams and in the boardrooms selling their future products.

November 28, 2021

Pfizer to become $100B behemoth next year thanks to COVID-19 drug and vaccine: analyst

Life sciences

Pfizer’s revenue could reach $101.3 billion in 2022, with major contributions coming from the company’s BioNTech-partnered COVID vaccine and an antiviral therapeutic that has shown stellar clinical data, SVB Leerink analyst Geoffrey Porges projected in a Monday note to clients.

November 28, 2021

GlaxoSmithKline takes aim at sick pay access inequities with microgrant program and new campaign

Life sciences

In a survey commissioned by GlaxoSmithKline’s consumer health division of 2,000 working people in the U.S., almost 70% admitted to clocking in while sick, often because they couldn’t afford to lose a day’s pay. Black and Latina women were 10% more likely than white women to shun taking sick time for fear of fallout from their boss, according to the company’s 2021 Temperature Check Report.

Send this to a friend