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Sunshine Act Requires Doctors to Report Kickbacks

September 10th, 2014 at 3:35 pm

Connecticut malpractice attorney, Connecticut medical malpractice attorney, hospital safety, malpractice attorney, medical malpractice, report kickbacks, Sunshine Act, Westport medical malpractice attorneyThis fall a proviso of the Affordable Care Act goes into effect known as the Sunshine Act, which requires all medical device and pharmaceutical companies to report publicly all payments made to doctors over the amount of $10. This is meant to curb big pharma and device manufacturers from giving doctors and other medical professionals shady kickbacks for using their products, or at least to make the public aware of such practices. Charlie Ornstein, a senior editor for ProPublica, told CBS News that the practice of big corporations providing “pay to play” for doctors who use their medications or devices is nothing new. It has been in place for decades. Ornstein told CBS News that the promotion part “has gotten a lot of attention in recent years because drug companies have paid … billions of dollars to settle lawsuits that have accused them of improper marketing and giving kickbacks to doctors.”

It is an illegal practice for corporations to give kickbacks to doctors for prescribing their products, but it is not illegal for corporations to give doctors money for promoting their drug. This makes for a very grey line between legitimate and illegitimate relationships between drug manufacturers and the medical professional world. Ornstein told CBS News that it all boils down to trust. If your doctor recommends a certain drug to you, you should be able to assume that he is recommending that particular drug because it is what your body needs.

Ornstein said that it would make sense that a doctor would first prescribe a generic or cheaper alternative, as the cost of drugs continues to skyrocket. Another good example of a doctor doing what is best for his patient would be to recommend a non-medication alternative “to reach your goals perhaps first.”

According to ProPublica, the issue of doctors having to settle issues of marketing fraud is widespread. Since 2008, at least 15 manufacturers of drugs or medical devices have had to pay $6.5 billion collectively to settle such accusations. Yet no individual doctor has faced the same penalties, “despite allegations of fraud or of conduct that put patients at risk.”

If you or someone you know suspects that your doctor has illegally received kickbacks for prescribing medication, the most important step is to speak with a legal professional. Contact a Westport medical malpractice attorney today.

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