Compliance Buzz March 14, 2016 – Three Good Reasons to Pre-Disclose HCP Spend

To pre-disclose, or not to pre-disclose. That is the question.

Life science staffs are juggling multiple HCP spend transparency disclosure requirements these days. Managing those requirements can be a complex process, involving multiple systems and personnel dedicated to collecting and reporting the data. Teams charged with the management of spend transparency have to consider whether pre-disclosing the data, outside of what may be required by law, is a good idea.

Here are three reasons why we think the answer is yes:

1: It keeps HCP’s from being blindsided. Under most global transparency initiatives, data sent to regulatory bodies is made public, so it must be accurate. Pre-disclosure is one tool that can be used to facilitate that effort. Since the release of Open Payments data (and even before with ProPublica’s Dollars for Docs), local media outlets have featured stories about which doctors in their state or locality are receiving the most money from the industry. Pre-disclosure is one way to help HCPs be prepared for the information that will be released about them.

In addition, HCPs that have relationships with public medical institutions are required to disclose their relationships with industry companies. Discrepancies between what an HCP reports to a medical institution and what is disclosed through Open Payments or other transparency initiatives can be problematic for these HCPs. Pre-disclosure gives HCPs the opportunity to ensure that what they’ve reported, or will report, to these institutions aligns with what is disclosed to the public. Pre-disclosure demonstrates a true partnership between the company and the HCP.

2: It helps a company proactively address discrepancies . Pre-disclosing spend information throughout a reporting year allows for queries and disputed transactions to be addressed prior to any review period required by regulators. In fact, under Open Payments and the Medicines Australia’s Code of Conduct, the required review period is relatively short considering the volume of transactions open to dispute. Granted, wholesale  disputes of data are highly unlikely, however, just one or two disputes, multiplied  over an HCP universe of hundreds of practitioners, add up quickly. Spreading those disputes over time is a more effective approach.

3: It’s good customer service. During CBI’s 9th Annual Aggregate Spend and Transparency Forum, two panelists from the American Medical Association Board of Trustees noted that physicians were most concerned about accurate data being released to the public. The panelists emphasized that providing a website for physicians to review spend data prior to the Open Payments review period would help in alleviate those concerns.

For a reportable recipient, spend transparency initiatives are akin to consumer credit reporting. Information is being shared about their business relationships, yet they aren’t really part of the collection and data release process. Some transparency initiatives require a review period for reportable recipients, but reportable recipients then need to review a large amount of data at once, potentially from multiple sources. Pre-disclosure allows reportable recipients to review smaller chunks of spend data over time, rather than during a single short window. This helps customers better manage what they can control . That’s good customer service.

The bottom line: pre-disclosure is a good idea because it benefits the company responsible for reporting and the HCPs about whom information is being reported. When spend data is pre-disclosed,  HCPs have the opportunity to review that data for accuracy before it is submitted to regulatory agencies and the company is presented with a valuable opportunity to engage in a critical and proactive conversation with its HCP partners.

Compliance News in Review, November 24, 2015

The new nominee to head the FDA faces some tough questions on Capitol Hill, state prosecutors join to investigate potential false claims made by pharmacies, and the AMA institutes a policy calling for a ban on DTC advertising.

Gobble, gobble! Bring on the food coma, it’s Thanksgiving! We can practically smell the turkey and stuffing (or “dressing,” depending on what part of the country you call home) now! While the holiday doesn’t hold the same lore for Hollywood as Christmas, it has inspired at least one memorable sitcom scene. The food, football, parades, family and friends…we’re ready for Thursday! In the meantime, we’ll pass the time with this edition of the Compliance News in Review.

President Obama’s nominee to head the FDA was talking turkey during a recent confirmation hearing. Questions for Dr. Robert Califf were generally tame, but a couple of senators got tough with questions about his ties to the pharmaceutical industry and drug pricing. Senator Elizabeth Warren expressed her concern over what she described as “significant financial support” from pharmaceutical companies that Dr. Califf received while he was a researcher at Duke University. The doctor objected to the idea that the support biased his research in any way, and said copies of industry-funded research contracts would be provided to the committee. Senator Bernie Sanders was the only senator expressing an objection to the nomination, saying the FDA needed a commissioner that would be aggressive in fighting for lower drug costs, and Califf isn’t that person. Much of the discussion focused on the backlog of generic drug approvals at the FDA and Califf agreed that the agency could improve the approval rate.

Federal prosecutors in Florida, California, Texas and Mississippi are gathering around the table with the Department of Defense to investigate fraudulent claims made to the Tricare program by compounding pharmacies. Allegedly, one marketing group went so far as to use social media to promote compound creams to military members and their spouses. In the 2015 fiscal year, Tricare paid $1.75 billion for compounded drugs, which is nearly 20% more than the program paid in 2012 for these drugs.

Time to make a change to the drug marketing recipe, according to the American Medical Association. At an interim meeting of the Association, a policy calling for the ban of direct to consumer (DTC) advertising of prescription drugs in medical devices was adopted. The new policy is based on the idea that money poured into the marketing of drugs is inflating prices, and DTC advertising drives a demand for expensive new medications, which are not always appropriate. In addition to calling for a ban on DTC advertising, the policy will establish a task force focused on lowering the cost of drugs by advocating for more competition in the sector and transparency in drug pricing.

Before we close this edition of the Compliance News in Review, we’d like to take a moment to say how thankful we are for all you, our dear readers. Whether you’re celebration leads you over the river and through the woods, or keeps you closer to your own home, we wish you happy and safe Thanksgiving.

See you in December!