In compliance with the Physician Payments Sunshine Act – part of the Affordable Care Act of 2010 – beginning August 1, 2013, 3M’s medical and oral care divisions, along with other manufacturers and distributors of medical devices, are required to record all “transfers of value” from the company to U.S. doctors, dentists, orthodontists and teaching hospitals. Transfers of value include consulting fees, speaking fees, honoraria, gifts and entertainment, food and beverage, travel and lodging, and payments for research, education and royalties. There are only a few exemptions from the reporting requirement; for example, excluded from the requirement are discounts and rebates, certain product samples, evaluation units and transfers of value worth less than $10 per item, unless the total for the year is $100 or greater. Under the law, 3M must report transfers of value recorded in 2013 to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid (CMS) by March 2014. CMS will then post the information on their website.
Physicians (doctors, dentists and orthodontists) are not required to take any action. The Sunshine Act itself does not restrict industry-physician collaboration or interactions, nor does it prohibit payments or other transfers of value. Rather, it requires manufacturers to track and report transfers of value to the federal government, as mentioned above. In addition to medical device companies, pharmaceutical manufacturers and dealers who take title also must record and report transfers of value to the federal government. Existing federal (e.g. anti-kickback law) and state laws (e.g. in VT and MA) which restrict certain interactions between industry and health care professionals including physicians remain in force.
3M is committed to providing innovative products and solutions that help physicians deliver better care and improve outcomes, as well as reduce overall costs and increase efficiency. Interaction and collaboration with doctors, dentists and orthodontists is crucial to our efforts to advance new, safe and effective technologies that benefit physicians, staff and patients. At the same time we recognize that transparency of interactions between manufacturers and physicians can help assure people that physicians are making independent decisions regarding patient care.