The Gift of Transparency

Reps. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) and Pete Stark (D-Calif.) have introduced a bill (HR 5605) that would require industry to disclose to the public any gifts or payments to physicians valued at $25 or more. The legislation is a companion to a bill (S 2029) sponsored by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Herb Kohl (D-Wis.).

Under the bill, companies with at least $100 million in annual revenue would be required each quarter to disclose gifts or payments exceeding $25 in value, and the information would then be posted on an all-company-combined Web site. Included would be payments for continuing medical education programs.

The ACC is committed to professionalism and to a transparent relationship with industry. And, we have among the most stringent policies in place to ensure that support from industry has no influence on the analysis of science or content of medical education. But, these are indeed trying times for professional societies and medicine. Public funding for research and education is scarce, and we depend on industry support to carry out our mission to advance research, to educate, to produce scientific publications, and to promote and measure quality CV care.

We are anxious to work with our friends on Capitol Hill to find solutions that will help us continue to make progress in these regards. Disturbingly, all these debates fail to consider the huge impact health care has on bolstering our troubled economy as well (dead goose = no golden eggs).

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