Compliance News in Review, November 16, 2015

The OIG 2016 Work Plan is released, the House of Representatives form a task force to combat rising drug costs, a Massachusetts HCP is indicted in the Warner Chilcott case, and CMS releases informational charts to help clear Open Payments confusion.

He’s an international man of mystery, who’s licensed to kill, and he is back in theaters for you viewing pleasure. He’s Bond, James Bond. The latest installment of the series, Spectre, has hit theaters. The reviews are mixed, but hey, all we ask out of a Bond film is a good vodka martini (shaken, not stirred), spectacular gadgets, and a good chase sequence or two. Whilst we check local screening times, we’ll leave you with our own top secret document to peruse, this edition of the Compliance News in Review.

For Your Eyes Only, it’s the OIG 2016 Work Plan. Okay, it may not be top secret, but the 2016 plan is out and it reveals some interesting news for pharma and med device companies. You may recall that in the 2015 Work Plan, the OIG said it would review the financial interests reported under the Open Payments Program. In this year’s Plan, the agency has slightly revised this initiative (revision in bold):

“We will determine the number and nature of financial interests that were reported to CMS under the Open Payments Program. We will also determine the extent to which CMS oversees manufacturers’ and group purchasing organizations’ (GPOs’) compliance with data reporting requirements and whether the required data for physician and teaching hospital payments are valid.

Previously, the Work Plan stated the OIG would review whether the required data was reported “accurately and completely displayed in the publicly available database.”

U.S. House and Senate members have no Quantum of Solace regarding drug prices in wake of some recent high profile drug price hikes. In the House, a group of Democrats have formed the Affordable Drug Pricing Task Force to pursue “meaningful action to combat the skyrocketing costs of pharmaceuticals.” In the Senate, the Special Committee on Aging is set to investigate large spikes in drug prices. The Committee sent letters to Valeant, Turing Pharmaceuticals and two other companies for information regarding recent large increases in drugs sold. The Committee also requested a face-to-face meeting with the CEO of Turing. Both Valeant and Turing have also received subpoenas from federal prosecutors regarding their drug pricing policies.

A Massachusetts gynecologist was indicted on several different charges including a count of violating the Federal Anti-kickback Statute in connection with Warner Chilcott case. The indictment also seeks criminal forfeiture of $23,500. If found guilty, the doctor could face up to 11 years in prison and fines up to $325,000.

CMS won’t Never Say Never Again to the inclusion of Open Payments data on the Physician Compare website , but it is a no for now. After receiving comments and some consumer testing, it was determined the data is different that data presented on the Physician Compare website. CMS will continue to conduct tests with consumers to determine how best to frame the data.

In the past, the hierarchy associated with teaching hospitals has confused The Living Daylights out of reporting organizations that try to determine how to report payments in the Open Payments system. CMS hoped to clear the confusion by providing a couple of during a recent webinar. One chart is intended to help reporting organizations determine when and how to report payments to teaching hospitals. The other is an organizational chart to help show how the various entities roll up to a teaching hospital on the CMS teaching hospital list. Other topics covered during the webinar included record validation changes for 2015, and how to report stock and stock options as forms of payment.

CMS has been working diligently to improve the Open Payments system. The recent news of improvements offers a good reminder for companies to survey their programs, to make sure  all of the pertinent information related to the changes is being communicated. While the process of preparing systems to handle those changes is important, stakeholders such as sales, R&D, and vendors also need to be aware of how those changes affect their interactions with customers. On-going training is critical.

Well, that’s all the compliance news fit to blog for this edition. Have a great week everyone!

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