Congress is expected to finalize within days a new law to expand transparency surrounding payment to non-physician providers. Beginning in 2020, pharmaceutical and medical device companies must disclose payments made to those providers for speaking or consulting, as they must do now with physicians.
As Stat reports: “In many states, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and other non-physician health professionals account for a substantial number of prescriptions—often including prescription opioids.” The law also applies to clinical nurse specialists, nurse-anesthetists, and nurse-midwives.
Allan Coukell, senior director for drugs and medical devices at the Pew Charitable Trusts, said that this would bring about the same level of transparency regarding financial relationships that currently applies to physicians and teaching hospitals.
The American Academy of Physician Assistants released a statement highlighting their “strong support [for] efforts to increase transparency…. Reporting … should be consistent with the requirements for physicians.”
Much of the law focuses on addiction prevention and treatment. But it also reflects lawmakers’ growing concern about the pharmaceutical industry’s role in the crisis.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D), co-sponsored the initial legislation with Sen. Chuck Grassley (R), citing the “terrible lesson” brought about by the opioid epidemic. “Without full transparency, pharmaceutical companies can operate under the cover of darkness, possibly using gifts and payments to influence the prescribing practices of medical professionals like nurse practitioners and physician assistants.”
Source: STAT, September 27, 2018