Sunshine Act languishes with no final rule

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Once again highlighting overdue regulation, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) on Tuesday sent a letter to the White House, reinforcing his calls for the administration to issue a final rule on the Physician Payment Sunshine Act.

The Act requires drug companies and device manufacturers to disclose payments and gifts worth more than $10 to teaching hospitals and physicians.

Charles Rosen, cofounder of the Association for Medical Ethics, told HealthLeaders Media the Sunshine Act is designed to "rein in undue and harmful influence of money on medicine."

Grassley, the coauthor of the Act in 2010, noted that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services won't be able to collect data on time, now that the statutory deadline is 15 months past due.

"At best, the public may miss an entire year's worth of data collection--perhaps more. This is unacceptable," Grassley said Tuesday in a statement.

Grassley's sentiments echo nearly 20 healthcare and consumer advocacy groups, including AARP and AFL-CIO, last week when they pressed the White House to issue final regulations.

The delays have been attributed to politics of an election year, according to The Hill's Healthwatch.

"Letting the sun shine in and making information public is basic to accountability. The sooner we can properly implement this law, the sooner we can establish greater accountability for patients and consumers," Grassley said.

For more information:
- here's Grassley's statement
- see the HealthLeaders Media article
- read the Hill's Healthwatch article

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