(Another of the co-sponsors is Representative Dennis Kucinich â€“ glad heâ€™s getting back to work after the grueling primary season.)
The bill calls for the reporting of absolutely everything (and they thought of everything) over $25.00 considered â€œa transfer of valueâ€ to a physician.
(Whatâ€™s the AWP for a large pizza and a liter of Diet Coke these days?)
The penalties are between $10,000 - $100,000 and multiple offenders can say adios to their corporate deductions for advertising related expenses.
According to Mr. Stark, â€œThe Sunshine Act will help enable Medicare beneficiaries to determine if their doctors are acting in patientsâ€™ best interests. It may even convince doctors to quit taking what can only be described as industry kickbacks."
Kickbacks? Thatâ€™s a pretty strong accusation. Mr. Stark should apologize to Americaâ€™s physicians and to the pharmaceutical industry he slanders so easily. And as far as Americaâ€™s Medicare beneficiaries, Mr. Stark might also want to mention that the Medicare Drug Benefit (Part D) doesnâ€™t "pay" doctors.
Mr. DeFazio issued some equally thoughtful and measured comments:
"If the billions of dollars drug companies spend taking doctors on trips to the Caribbean and to expensive dinners at the countryâ€™s finest restaurants are above-board, then the pharmaceutical industry should support our legislation. This bill will keep the pharmaceutical industry honest."
Speaking of â€œhonesty,â€ Mr. DeFazio should own up to the fact that the aforementioned boondoggle trips and are against the rules.
But this has nothing to do with honesty and everything to do with posturing â€“ and hidden agendas. (One of the groups supporting this legislation is Consumers Union â€“ yes, the same organization that receives millions of dollars from foundations supported by the generic drug industry.)
The concept that big bad Pharma is to blame for everything, and that a $25.15 pizza party is at the heart of the destruction of medical ethics, isnâ€™t just simplistic and sophistic but deleterious to a serious conversation about the issue.
H. R. 5605 is just another example of superbity from our legislative Sultans of Sanctimony.