House puts Sunshine Act in health reform bill
This afternoon, three House committees released their joint health care reform bill. The product of careful coordination by the Energy and Commerce, Education and Labor, and of Ways and Means committees includes Physician Payments Sunshine Provisions, a stronger version of the Physician Payments Sunshine Act (S.301).
The House bill is stronger in a number of ways. First, it would require the reporting of payments not only to physicians, but also to physician group practices, other prescribers, pharmacists and pharmacies, health insurers and health plans (including employees), pharmacy benefit managers, hospitals, medical schools, sponsors of continuing medical education programs, patient advocacy and disease groups, health care professional organizations, and biomedical researchers. It also would require reporting of ownership interests in hospitals and other entities that bill Medicare.
The bill would replace the $100 aggregate reporting threshold set in S.301 with a $5 per payment reporting threshold. Like the Senate bill, the House allows a delay for reporting research payments until drug approval or two years, whichever comes first.
The House’s bill would also require that information (excluding value) about drug samples provided to prescribers be reported, though it would not be made public. The bill has no state preemption, and would explicitly allow state attorneys general to enforce the provisions of the law with the permission of the Secretary of Health and Human Services.