Pharma's acceptance of transparency programs matures as reporting becomes global

The global shift toward disclosing payments made to physicians is maturing and becoming increasingly global in nature, according to the findings of an annual survey conducted by IMS Health.

The US is the leader when it comes to requiring pharmaceutical and medical-device manufacturers to disclose payments and other so-called transfers of value they make to physicians and certain other healthcare providers, like teaching hospitals.

But several other countries including France, Denmark and Portugal have launched similar transparency initiatives that have made the collection of such data a global operational issue for companies. A new set of voluntary transparency standards issued by the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations will begin reporting in 2016. The Netherlands also has a voluntary disclosure code. 

But not all manufacturers handle this kind of data collection on a global scale. Many still choose to gather transparency data on a regional basis, said Don Soong, director of product management at IMS Health.

Seventy-nine percent of the 47 manufacturers surveyed said they are using an automated system to handle reporting data to the Open Payments database as well as for other transparency requirements. Only half of the companies surveyed were doing so in 2010. That's the year that the Affordable Care Act, which mandated the formation of the Open Payments database in the Physician Payment Sunshine Act provision, was passed.

“It's a maturing of transparency,” Soong said.

The majority of manufacturers surveyed—70% this year—are using the aggregated spending data to learn more about their HCP programs.

“A more analytical view of the data supports applications for marketing and financial reporting and helps companies make more informed business decisions to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of their HCP programs across the company,” the survey's authors wrote.