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Patricia O'Connell
Senior Communications Manager

Wiley Rein’s Kirk Nahra Comments on Physician “Transparency” Rule

Bloomberg BNA’s Health Care Fraud Report
February 8, 2013

Kirk J. Nahra, co-chair of Wiley Rein’s Health Care Practice, was quoted in a February 6 Bloomberg BNA article about a new federal requirement that the makers of drugs and medical devices disclose certain payments they make to physicians or teaching hospitals.

Manufacturers and group purchasing organizations also must report information about physician ownership or investment interests. The rule, released February 1 by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, aims to deter inappropriate financial relationships and help patients make more informed medical decisions.

The requirement, applicable to the manufacturers of drugs, devices, biologics and supplies covered by Medicare or Medicaid, will create significant burdens for various components of the health care industry, Mr. Nahra told Bloomberg BNA.

“At the end of the day, there is a real question as to whether the positive value of this transparency (particularly given all of the other fraud-related restrictions on the kinds of payments involved here) is worth the additional burdens and potential risks for certain kinds of activities (e.g., research) that may benefit the health care system and patients overall,” Mr. Nahra said.

It’s uncertain whether patients will find the transparency useful “or whether most patients will know or care about the information,” he added. There is also a concern that the information would be used primarily by lawyers seeking to challenge relationships between physicians and drug and device manufacturers, Mr. Nahra said.