Senators Express Disappointment Over CMS Response on Sunshine Act

On Oct. 3, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Herb Kohl (D-Wis.) wrote to the administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), seeking an explanation for the agency's missed deadline for drafting the implementing details of the Physician Payment Sunshine Act (Sunshine Act), a new law requiring public disclosure of the financial relationships between physicians and the pharmaceutical, medical device and biologics industries.  The administrator responded.  The senators made the following comment on the response, which is available here.

Sen. Grassley's comment:

"The administrator's response doesn't tell us anything new.  There's no explanation for the delay and no indication of when to expect completion.   It's an inadequate response any way you look at it.  Meanwhile, the U.S. government just settled with a medical device maker for $2.4 million over allegations of kickbacks to doctors to use the company's products.  The payments to doctors are the kind that might be prevented through disclosure as soon as the Sunshine Act is in place.  The longer we wait, the more taxpayers miss out on the benefits.   I'll continue to press for answers from CMS."

Sen. Kohl's comment:

"Given how straightforward and detailed the Sunshine Act provisions were, it's troubling that the response to our letter would come a month late without any indication on progress, a timeline or what caused the delay.  With medical device and pharmaceutical companies facing the January 1, 2012 deadline to begin collecting information about all payments to physicians, the lack of guidance leaves a great deal of uncertainty and I'm sure that's why many of the affected companies have joined us in calling for swift implementation."


The response to Sen. Kohl from CMS can be found here.