CMI/Compas: PCPs, Pharma Should Let Sunshine Act In

By Mia Burns (

Primary care physicians are less concerned about the impact of the Sunshine Act compared with their pharma industry counterparts, according to new research from CMI/Compas. The company conducted research with primary care physicians and the pharma industry to understand what each group perceives will be the impact that the act will have on pharmaceutical activities and corresponding physician engagement.

According to the report, 19 percent of primary care physicians are either extremely or very concerned by the Sunshine Act compared with 50 percent of industry professionals. In addition, primary care physicians have far less knowledge regarding what is reportable or exempt than their industry counterparts. Sixty-six percent of primary care physicians have little to no understanding of what qualifies as exempt and 44 percent are unclear as to what is reportable. Among industry professionals, only seven percent are unaware as to what is considered exempt and 10 percent don’t know what is reportable.

“The number one priority for us is ensuring and anticipating questions and pain points our clients have and being able to provide answers to their questions, especially those that concern them greatly,” says Dr. Susan Dorfman, Chief Marketing & Innovation Officer, CMI/Compas.

Dr. Dorfman also told Med Ad News Daily, “Over the last few months we’ve seen our clients have angst and uncertainty as it related to the Sunshine Act – not so much what they can and can’t report, because they have decent knowledge around that; but more so how will it affect pharma’s relationship with physicians and ultimately how it’s going to impact the valued interactions that traditionally have been helpful not just to physicians but ultimately to patients. That angst around physician perceptions was something really important for us to be able to address. So when we did the study we started by asking physicians, while at the same time capturing the mindset of our customers, what they were anticipating and how they were approaching the situation.”

The act will have some impact on what a minority of primary care physicians will stop and what they will limit, according to the report. Researchers found that the pharma industry greatly overestimated the activities that primary care physicians will limit as a result of the act. An overwhelming percentage of primary care physicians and industry professionals believe that a visual emblem would serve as highly beneficial to identify materials that are either reportable or exempt.

“We chose PCPs because when we looked across all of our customers, primary care is the most-served specialty – it’s the one group of physicians that the highest majority of the brands and pharma companies we serve work with,” Dr. Dorfman also told Med Ad News Daily. “Next year we will expand the survey to include other key specialties.”

The key takeaways from the report indicate the following: Physicians would benefit from understanding what items are reportable and what items are exempt; industry should not back away from providing valuable materials to primary care physicians, as they are still viewed as beneficial; and by using visual aids, such as CMI/Compas proposed exempt and reportable emblems, pharma can assist physicians in quickly identifying what is reportable and what is exempt.

“In any valuable relationship when something happens, and you’re uncertain of the implications of that, you worry,” Dr. Dorfman told Med Ad News Daily. “For example, in a valued friendship if something changes in your friend’s life, especially something that could affect your relationship, you’ll be concerned. The relationship with physicians is important to pharma and publishers, and not knowing how physicians feel about Sunshine Act causes concern. One is a group that it’s happening to, and the other is a group that is anticipating change as a result of activities they’re doing with that group.”


Posted: December 2013

View comments