Sunshine Act in the dark

Kiya Shazadeh Safavi, Angelina Hong, Cory F. Janney, Vinod K. Panchbhavi, Daniel C. Jupiter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: This study assessed patient perceptions of the Physician Payments Sunshine Act and opinions toward physicians who receive gifts and/or payments from pharmaceutical or medical device companies. Methods: During their office visit, patients attending different specialty clinics volunteered to complete our survey. The survey asks if the patient knows what the Sunshine Act is, then asks questions on 5-point response scales to assess the patient's opinions toward physicians who receive compensation from companies, their self-rated knowledge of physician compensation, and how they believe this compensation affects the cost of care. Results: Over 13 months, 523 responses were collected: 8.6% of patients reported having knowledge of the Sunshine Act, 56.8% rated their knowledge of physician compensations as “poor,” and 67.1% agreed with the statement that patients should be aware of the compensation physicians receive. When asked how their opinion toward their physician would change if they learned the physician received free meals or gifts from companies, 58.9% replied “not at all,” and 36.11% of patients did not believe their cost of care would increase if their physician received compensation from companies. Conclusions: Most patients were unfamiliar with the Sunshine Act, and believe their knowledge of physician compensation is poor. Over half of the respondents would not change their opinion of their physician based on knowledge of their physician receiving payments/gifts from companies, and over one-third of respondents did not believe such compensation increased the cost of care. The majority of respondents agreed that patients should be aware of payments/gifts to physicians.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)122-129
Number of pages8
JournalClinical Ethics
Volume17
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2022

Keywords

  • Sunshine Act
  • compensation
  • conflicts of interest
  • gifts
  • open payments
  • physician payments

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Issues, ethics and legal aspects
  • Philosophy

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