Sunshine Act Exemption for CME Payments Could Shift Marketing

A CMS rule that exempts drug and medical-device companies from having to disclose indirect payments to physicians for accredited continuing medical education could prompt manufacturers to shift their marketing dollars toward CME and away from direct promotional programs for their products, experts say.

A CMS rule that exempts drug and medical-device companies from having to disclose indirect payments to physicians for accredited continuing medical education could prompt manufacturers to shift their marketing dollars toward CME and away from direct promotional programs for their products, experts say.

If that occurs, it would reverse a yearslong trend of manufacturers pulling back on CME grants.

Drug and device companies pay hundreds of millions of dollars a year to for-profit companies and not-for-profit organizations such as academic medical centers that educate physicians about new treatment options and help them hone their skills as part of accredited or certified CME programs. The CME providers then hire and pay doctors to lead the sessions.

Manufacturers are exempt from reporting these indirect CME payments to doctors under the Physician Payments Sunshine Act, which generally requires public disclosure of industry payments to physicians and teaching hospitals starting in September. Companies will still have to report the value of some meals they provide to all physicians at CME events.

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Source: Modern Healthcare