Senators push physician financial disclosure bill

March 6, 2009

Two U.S. senators resubmitted legislation from the last congressional session that would require public disclosure of physicians' financial ties to pharmacy companies and device manufacturers.

Senators Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Herb Kohl (D-Wisconsin) resubmitted legislation from the last congressional session that would require public disclosure of physicians' financial ties-at a minimum of $100 total per year-to pharmacy companies and device manufacturers.

The new version of the Physician Payments Sunshine Act would toughen the previous version's $500 minimum per year of fees, honoraria, food, entertainment, or other compensation that must be disclosed. The bill would apply to physicians who receive payments through Medicare, Medicaid, or the State Children's Health Insurance Program, and it would establish penalties as high as $1 million for knowingly failing to report the information.

Ted Epperly, MD, president of the American Academy of Family Physicians, called the bill onerous and restrictive, according to the organization's web site, AAFP News Now.