Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Let the sunshine in

Pharmaceutical Companies Will Soon be Required to Publicly Report Payments to Doctors; The Canadian Pharmacy Says It's Time to Stop Unfairly Influencing Prescribers

Winnipeg, Manitoba (PRWEB) July 31, 2013

The Physician Payments Sunshine Act, passed as part of the United States' Affordable Healthcare Act, requires that on August 1, 2013, manufacturers of pharmaceutical and medical devices begin to collect and document all payments made to physicians and teaching hospitals over the amount of $10. This includes any and all forms of payment such as gifts, honorariums and awards, stock options, royalties and research funding.

These "perks" have long been a part of the dance between pharmaceutical companies and physicians. While a part of the physician's job is to remain neutral and prescribe the medication or treatment best suited for an individual patient's condition, pharmaceutical companies have a product to sell and want their product to be the first that comes to mind when the doctor pulls out the prescription pad and pen - which may itself have a logo emblazoned upon it.

As legislators were crafting the Affordable Healthcare Act, it became clear that in order to reduce drug costs and increase transparency, this situation had to be addressed. Despite a physician's best intentions, each one is only human and may be influenced, even unintentionally. By collecting payment data and creating a database accessible to the public, patients can see for themselves how much money their physician or hospital has received from pharmaceutical companies. Information is power, and patients have the opportunity to make an informed decision as to whether they feel their prescriber may have been influenced.

Doctors and administrators at teaching hospitals have raised concerns about how this information will be categorized and represented and whether the media and the public will fully grasp the nuances and differences between different types of payments. Another significant area of concern is the potential for mistakes. While a dispute-resolution system is being established as part of the Act, it is still unclear how efficiently this system will work.

Harry Greenberg, the senior associate dean for research at Stanford University's School of Medicine, has raised concerns about whether the exact purpose of the money gifted will be addressed in the database. As he points out, there is a vast difference between money that goes directly into a physician's pocket and money that is used to fund potentially life-saving research.

David Zimmer, President of The Canadian Pharmacy, an online pharmacy in Canada dedicated to providing high-quality medication to both Canadian and international patients in a safe and cost-effective manner, is excited by the potential of increased transparency in doctors' prescribing practices. "This law aims to help medical consumers make more informed decisions and alert them to any potential conflicts of interest that their health care providers may hold," he says. "The Canadian Pharmacy applauds this effort to increase transparency and, hopefully, decrease health care costs in the United States. Practices that are detrimental to the availability and affordability of medication are also detrimental to public health, and it's time for these practices to be addressed and prevented."

Online Canadian pharmacy has been serving consumers for the past 10 years by providing significant cost savings on prescription medication. The Canadian Pharmacy is certified by both the Canadian International Pharmacy Association and the Manitoba International Pharmacist's Association.

About The Canadian Pharmacy:

The Canadian Pharmacy is an online Canadian pharmacy based in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Dedicated to helping consumers save money on safe, high-quality prescription drugs, the pharmacy is certified by the Better Business Bureau, CIPA and MIPA and also has a 5-Check rating from Every staff member of The Canadian Pharmacy is also certified by CIPA, and licensed pharmacists and physicians are available to assist patients with all of their questions and concerns.

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