Medical Associations Support Bill Exempting Journals and Textbooks from Sunshine Reporting

July 15, 2016 – More than 100 medical associations, including the American Medical Association, signed a letter of support for S. 2978, a bill sponsored by Sen. John Barrasso, M.D. (R-Wyo.), that would exempt peer-reviewed journals, journal reprints, journal supplements, medical conference reports, and medical textbooks from being reported as transfers of value under the Sunshine Act.

“The joint letter of over one hundred specialty groups and medical societies sends a clear sign to Senators and other policy makers of the importance of medical journals and CME to patients,” said Coalition for Healthcare Communication Executive Director John Kamp. “At the same time, this letter is a prime example of the kinds of joint industry lobbying that enables good policy making in Washington.”

The letter to Sen. Barrasso states the organizations’ assertion that Congress “specifically intended to exclude such independent sources of clinical information so as to avoid chilling the dissemination of high quality and actionable clinical information that had undergone independent review.”

According to the letter, “passage of the bill is urgently needed to remedy onerous and burdensome reporting requirements imposed by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) that have already chilled the dissemination of medical textbooks and peer-reviewed medical reprints and journals, and to avert a similar negative impact on access to independent certified and/or accredited continuing medical education (CME).”

The letter also explains that CMS’ interpretation to consider these materials transfers of value because they seemingly are not directly beneficial to patients nor are they intended for patient use is inappropriate, and “inconsistent with the reality of clinical practice where patients benefit directly from improved physician medical knowledge.”

The physician groups contend that “the importance of up-to-date, peer-reviewed scientific medical information as the foundation for good medical care is well documented,” and that these materials “represent the gold standard in evidence-based medical knowledge and provide a direct benefit to patients because better informed clinicians render better care to their patients.”

“Great credit goes to the AMA for organizing the effort, and to the ad hoc coalition of trade associations and journals that is working hard to move this legislation through the House and the Senate,” Kamp said.