The Sunshine Act is often discussed with the analogy of light as a disinfectant. The suggestion is that something’s infected. But as in real life, things that look infected aren’t necessarily so.
I was contacted recently by a prominent pharmaceutical company to design a program that helps health professionals understand how to use public media.
The company doesn’t make products used by pediatric gastroenterologists. In fact, they make no products used by gastroenterologists. They just want me to shape a professional development program in which providers can be trained on the use of new media. It’s an important project. Helping professionals leverage their voices is a passion of mine.
But my work would be reported under the Sunshine Act. Not a problem. But as I began to think about it, I wondered:
What will the government do to ensure that the relationship I share with this company is properly represented to the public? And how do I defy the assumption of conflict that surrounds The Sunshine Act?
To me, it would seem that the inability to properly report the nature of a relationship would represent a major shortcoming of the law.
Transparency is good. But it serves no purpose if information consumers have know idea what they’re looking at.
If you like The Sunshine Act and the Appearance of Conflict, then you might like the 33 charts Pharma/Industry Archives. This collection covers the evolving space of physicians, pharma and online connection.