News Week in Review, November 12, 2013

CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) announces new rates for 2013 and GSK falls into troubled waters with Chinese officials while earning kudos for a recent physician meeting.

Happy Veteran’s Day everyone, or Armistice Day, if you want to kick it old school! Veteran’s Day was officially established in 1919, and the focus has remained the same ever since… we pause to honor those who have served our nation in the armed forces. Whether you cheered our veterans as they paraded in formation, or celebrated by proudly flying the red, white and blue, we join you in saluting veterans throughout our ranks as we bring you this week’s News in Review.

We start this week with a familiar topic, the Sunshine Act. The Act provides for an increase in reporting thresholds for transfers of value each year to match the rise in the Consumer Price Index and CMS has announced the increases for 2014. The $10.00 threshold will be raised to $10.18 and the $100.00 threshold will be raised to $101.75. CMS is also updating the FAQs for the Open Payments program.

A platoon of physician groups, including the AMA, is asking CMS to exclude the value of textbooks and medical journal reprints from the reporting requirements of the Sunshine Act. The groups disagree with the notion that books and journals don’t offer a patient benefit. Since the advent of Sunshine, physicians have been reluctant to accept the items, and the groups are concerned about a subsequent decline in the quality of care.

A recent speech from the head of the Serious Fraud Office, David Green, points to the importance of self-reporting in bribery cases. According to Green, if a company makes a “genuine” self-report, a prosecution under the U.K. Bribery Act may not be in the public’s best interest. He also emphasized the importance of cooperating with investigators and demonstrating that corrective action has been put in place. The topic of the possibility of the Corporate Offence section of the Bribery Act being extended to include a company’s failure to prevent employee fraud was also covered.

Chinese authorities say GSK has not passed inspection on the corruption front and company executives are to be charged in the investigation of the company’s business relations in China. The investigation should be concluded sometime this month or the next, according to authorities and a source close to the case said the company is not likely to be thrown out of the country.

Bloomberg awarded GSK a medal for good conduct in a recent article about a physician meeting that was focused on the company’s new respiratory drug. The conversation focused more on the risks rather than the benefits and the article suggests the tone was a far cry from what would have occurred twelve years ago when Advair was launched. According to a physician speaking at the gathering, the presentation was quite different from previous years, when risks were mentioned as an afterthought.

Well, that’s the compliance news for this week, but before we leave, we close with one last expression of gratitude to the nation’s veterans. Whether you served stateside or abroad, in wartime or peace, we salute your service and dedication.

Have a great week everyone!

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