After much fussing and fretting, compliance with the Physicians’ Sunshine Act took hold in the US in 2014; a similar, voluntary program has been in place in most of Europe since the middle of this year. These rules, as well as so-called industry transparency mandates in other parts of the world, require life sciences companies to report spending on physicians and other prescribers to a government authority (CMS in the US); the theory being that those data will reveal undue influence by some prescribers getting money or other “transfers of value” from industry.
There have been a flurry of headlines with the first couple annual public releases from CMS (you can look up your own doctor’s funding here), but the system quickly settled down to another of many regulatory filings. Now, according to the “U.S. Trends in Aggregate Spend Disclosure,” the seventh in a series from QuintilesIMS, some companies are beginning to use the compiled data (whether of their own practices, or those of competitors) to gain insights into drug research and marketing activity: two in three reporting companies are doing so, and of those, 21% are deriving global business insights, while the remainder are looking at local or regional effects. These business insights can range from tracking spending on specific prescribers with their prescribing activity overall compliance efforts internally or externally.
The report also shows that about a fifth (18%) of reporting companies are using manual processes such as spreadsheets to do the filing (and all of these companies have revenues under $1 billion); the rest use internal software systems or third-party systems. Surprisingly, 63% of respondents say that their investment in these systems will increase in the coming year—potential good news for the IT vendors (including QuintilesIMS) serving this market.
The full report is available at quintilesims.com.