The Physician Payments Sunshine Act

Regulations require medical product manufacturers to publicly report payments made to physicians and teaching hospitals.  

Exteriors of the hospital.

The Physician Payments Sunshine Act (PPSA)—also known as section 6002 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) of 2010—requires medical product manufacturers to disclose to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) any payments or other transfers of value made to physicians or teaching hospitals.

The Issue:
It also requires certain manufacturers and group purchasing organizations (GPOs) to disclose any physician ownership or investment interests held in those companies.

The data will be published annually in a publicly searchable database. The first data collection period began in August 2013, and the deadline for submission to CMS was in March 2014. These data will be aggregated and made available to physicians and manufacturers for review and correction, and will then be published on a public website. The first wave of data went live September 30, 2014. The initial intent was to publish all data by this date, but CMS announced in August that some data will be withheld pending further verification.

The full impact of this law will not be clear until several years after its implementation, and ongoing questions remain regarding its effects on patient decision making, physian-industry relationships, and the conduct of clinical research and dissemination of its results.

What's Next:
The first year of implementation has pre­sented a number of technical challenges for CMS. The agency’s website has twice experi­enced glitches that required it to shut down, and physician reports of inaccurate data have prompted the agency to withhold as much as one-third of the data that were reported for the first year. Industry trade groups have raised questions regarding the reasons for withhold­ing this much information, arguing that these companies reported their data in a manner consistent with the CMS guidelines. Nevertheless, the bulk of the data was pub­lished in September 2014.

Media Contacts

Sue Ducat

Health Affairs (301) 841-9962

Additional Media Contact: Melissa Blair

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (609) 627-5937