Drug, device CEOs voice concerns about O-Care project

Advocates for the drug, device and biotechnology industries are raising concerns about the implementation of a payments database required by ObamaCare.

The "Sunshine Act" system will allow the public to search how much money doctors receive from drug and device companies. It is scheduled to launch on Sept. 30, despite complaints about inaccuracies and technical glitches.

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But the CEOs of PhRMA, AdvaMed and the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) say the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has not been clear enough about what data will be posted on the site and how it will be presented.

"Providing context for reported payments and other transfers of value is critical to ensuring patients do not form mistaken impressions that all payments to physicians are suspect," the leaders wrote in a Sept. 18 letter.

"Unfortunately, with only less than two weeks before the public website is to go live, we have not been given an opportunity to review how CMS intends to present this crucial contextual information or to consult with CMS on its content."

The Open Payments database is intended to illustrate financial ties between doctors and industry that could influence clinical judgments.

The CMS said this month the system is still on track to launch Sept. 30.

Previously, the agency delayed the system's rollout several times under pressure from stakeholders. The American Medical Association is hoping for another six-month deferral, arguing in a letter Aug. 5 that the current schedule is not fair to doctors.

The Sept. 18 letter was signed by PhRMA President John Castellani, AdvaMed President Stephen Ubl and BIO President James Greenwood.