BLOGSCAN - On the Physician Payment Sunshine Act and CME Put on by MECCs

On the Carlat Psychiatry Blog, Dr Daniel Carlat discussed the Physician Payment Sunshine Act. This proposed legislation would mandate disclosure by drug companies of all payments over $500 made to physicians for speaking, consulting, travel, etc. Dr Carlat, however, noted an important loophole. The legislation would not cover payments made to medical education and communication companies (MECCs) to put on continuing medical education (CME) activities. Pharmaceutical, biotechnology and device companies often sponsor CME produced by MECCs. Such CME, even though it may be accredited, may be done more for marketing than educational purposes. But payments to physicians by MECCs made with money supplied by industry would not need to be disclosed according to the present form of the bill. Dr Carlat fears that the legislation, in its present form, may have the unintended consequence of promoting even more industry-sponsored (and industry-friendly) by MECC provided CME.