PharmaShine A Laser Look Into Physician PaymentsClick Here for Additional Resources

A conversation with George Dunston, Co-Founder and Managing Principal of Obsidian HDS, about PharmaShine, an online service that makes all of the publicly revealed payments to physicians by pharmaceutical companies availible in a searchable interface. (See guest bio.)

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Tuesday, June 1, 2010 Listen to internet radio with Pharmaguy on Blog Talk Radio

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In January 2009, Senate Special Committee on Aging Chairman Herb Kohl (D-WI) and Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Charles Grassley (R-IA) introduced the Physician Payments Sunshine Act of 2009. This act, which has been introduced in previous sessions of Congress, attempts to provide for transparency in the relationship between physicians and pharma companies with respect to payments and other transfers of value. Several states, including Massachusetts, Vermont, and Minnesota, have either passed or threaten to pass their own “sunshine” that forbid or put limits on gifts to physicians by pharma companies.

Typically, these laws require the public disclosure of types and amounts of payments made to physicians above a certain limit. In response, many pharmaceutical companies have voluntarily published or announced that they will publish a list of payments to physicians. Eli Lilly was the first pharma company to do, followed by Merck and GSK. Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, and Medtronic have promised to do so in 2010.

This discussion will focus on PharmaShine, which makes all of this data available in a searchable online interface.

Questions/Topics Discussed

  • Please describe PharmaShine and who it is designed for? What is Obsidian HDS and why did you develop PharmaShine?
  • Where does the data come from? How many physicians are currently in the database?
  • What are the features that make this database useful? Why can’t we just access the publicly available data supplied by individual pharma companies?

Guest Bio

George DunstonGeorge Dunston is the Co-Founder and Managing Principal of Obsidian HDS, the developer of PharmaShine, a new online system for the collection, management and disclosure of pharmaceutical and medical device industry payments to healthcare professionals. George started Obsidian HDS in 2008. Prior to that he served in various positions as an attorney with Merck’s Office of the General Counsel including Global Franchise Attorney-Infectious Disease and Hospital Products, Assistant Counsel to Merck’s Europe, Middle East & Africa Division, and Senior Attorney with Merck’s Corporate legal group. Prior to joining Merck, George worked as an Associate in New York City with the law firms of Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison LLP and Brown & Wood LLP.

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