Blog — The Snow Report

Data collection begins today for the Physician Payment Sunshine Act (Sunshine Act). Part of Obamacare, the Sunshine Act requires that manufacturers of pharmaceuticals, medical supplies and biologicals report payments they make to physicians and teaching hospitals. This is designed to bring transparency to these financial transactions, most of which are for legitimate purposes.

Some of these payments have raised concerns that prescribing physicians may not be impartial in what they choose to prescribe for their patients. With the Sunshine Act, these payments will now be in the light of day and it is hoped that this will encourage appropriate payment practices and improve confidence in the impartiality of prescribing physicians.

What Are the Implications for Healthcare PR?

What are the implications for healthcare PR? Healthcare PR professionals who work for companies covered by the act or who have such companies as clients should make preparations to handle inquiries that might arise from the media, including bloggers. An audit should be done of payments reported under the act, and potentially controversial payments identified. A plan should be thought through and put in place to handle any media inquiries. This plan would identify spokespersons, have basic answers drafted, and include specific steps for handling inquiries. If needed, spokespersons should receive media training. Key messaging should be prepared that connects back to the company’s core values and product development strategy.

For more information on the Sunshine Act, go to The program is administered by The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid in the Department of Health and Human Services.


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