May 29, 2009
The Honorable Charles Grassley
Ranking Member of the Finance Committee
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510
Dear Senator Grassley:
The National Research Center for Women & Families strongly supports S. 301, the “Physician Payments Sunshine Act of 2009,” which requires manufacturers of drugs, biologicals, medical supplies and medical devices to disclose their financial payments and gifts to doctors and other health care professionals.
The Physician Payments Sunshine Act would bring much needed transparency to the often secretive financial relationships between medical products manufacturers and health care professionals. A recent report by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) stated, “The public needs to be able to trust that physicians’ decisions are not inappropriately influenced by their financial relationships with industry.”
The IOM report calls on Congress to pass legislation such as the Physician Payments Sunshine Act. It stated, “Responsible and reasonable conflict of interest policies and procedures will reduce the risk of bias and the loss of trust while avoiding undue burdens or harms and without damaging constructive collaborations with industry.”
This legislation is also supported by major industry trade groups, professional medical associations and by consumer and patient groups. The bill ensures transparency by establishing a publicly accessible Web site that tracks medical industry gifts and financial payments to doctors and health care professional.
Thank you for your leadership on health care issues and for sponsoring the Physician Payments Sunshine Act. By reducing conflicts-of-interest, this bill will help to protect patients and restore the public’s trust in our health care system
Diana Zuckerman, PhD