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Partners for Healthy Dialogues: Letter to CMS

July 29, 2014
BIO, a member of Partners for Healthy Dialogues (P4HD), joined 25 medical societies and manufacturers in a letter to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services highlighting both their shared commitment to sunshine and the importance of context in the upcoming data release.  As BIO CEO Jim Greenwood said in a Q&A with P4HD:

"We believe that part of CMS’s public service function in this area should be to help improve the public’s understanding of the need for collaboration between U.S. physicians and the life sciences industry and how they benefit patients, and help ensure that patients and the general public receive useful information and do not mistakenly form the impression that aspects of industry-physician relationship are somehow suspect.  We believe it is imperative that CMS and the life science industry educate the media and the public about what these disclosures are – and how they should be read – lest some try to misuse the data in an attempt to further a political activist agenda, potentially threatening innovation in our nation’s health care system."

In the letter to Marilyn Tavenner, the Administrator of CMS, the medical societies and medical technology and biotech innovator groups drove this point home, saying:

"In reviewing the Medicare Part B data released earlier this year, we note that the only information included and made available to the public was related to names and numbers with no context explaining the data. We do not believe this is an effective way to share data with the public and, in fact, can lead to confusion and misinterpretation.

"This potential public confusion is why Congress mandated CMS provide context along with the Sunshine data’s release. Further, multiple industry stakeholders have offered blueprints as to how context could be provided. To date, however, we have heard nothing from CMS regarding how the data will be explained. Given the importance of this outlying issue, we ask that CMS mpreview with physician stakeholders the proposed contextual information sought to accompany the public release of the Sunshine Act data."

For more on Partners for Healthy Dialogues, you can access resources for patients, medical professionals and biotechnology, pharmaceutical and medical technology professionals here: