Sunshine Act Has Not Increased Number of Patients Who Know Whether Their Own Physician Receives Industry Payments Interview with:

Genevieve P. Kanter, PhDAssistant Professor (Research) of Medicine, Medical Ethics and Health PolicyUniversity of Pennsylvania Perelman School of MedicinePhiladelphia, PA  19104-6021

Dr. Kanter

Genevieve P. Kanter, PhD
Assistant Professor (Research) of Medicine
Medical Ethics and Health Policy
University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine
Philadelphia, PA What is the background for this study?  

Response: In 2010, the US Congress—concerned about the adverse influence of financial relationships between physicians and drug and device firms, and the lack of transparency surrounding these relationships—enacted the Physician Payments Sunshine Act. This legislation required pharmaceutical and medical device firms to report, for public reporting through the Open Payments program, the payments that these firms make to physicians.

We sought to evaluate the effect of Open Payments’ public disclosure of industry payments information on US adults’ awareness of the issue of industry payments and knowledge of whether their physicians’ had received industry payments. What are the main findings?

Response: Using a difference-in-difference strategy, we found no effect of Open Payments on patients’ awareness of the issue of industry payments, but we did find an increase (of 10 percentage points) in awareness that payments information was publicly available.

Open Payments did not, however, increase the percentage of patients who knew whether their own physician had received industry payments. Two years after the release of industry payments information, only 3% of US adults knew whether physician had received an industry payment. What should readers take away from your report?

Response: The Physician Payment Sunshine Act appears to be far from achieving its goal of increasing patient engagement with the issue of industry payments. Efforts beyond the unveiling of a public website will be required to increase patients’ knowledge and awareness of their physicians’ interactions with industry. What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?

Response: Future research should investigate how the government can support transparency efforts and increase patient engagement with the issue of industry payments. 


Kanter GP, Carpenter D, Lehmann L, et al

Effect of the public disclosure of industry payments information on patients: results from a population-based natural experiment

BMJ Open 2019;9:e024020. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2018-024020

Apr 11, 2019 @ 12:16 am 

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