Campaign finance legislation failed to pass the Senate today. Last year, U.S. Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Herb Kohl (D-WI) introduced legislation to require drug companies to publicly report money they give to doctors over $100 every year.
This is a wonderful idea. Greater transparency helps everyone. At DrScore, this is a focus of our beliefs about U.S. medicine. Doctors have nothing to fear and much to gain from transparency, whether we talk about patient satisfaction scores or pharmaceutical company support. The last thing we doctors need to do is to raise suspicions by fighting efforts to improve transparency.
In fact, physicians should lead the way in support of more transparency. Not only should we be supporting the Grassley/Kohl measure, but we should encourage Congress to expand the measure to include payments to politicians and their campaign funds. Senator Grassley hit the nail on the head when he said, “The goal of our legislation is to lay it all out, make the information available for everyone to see, and let people make their own judgments about what the relationships mean or don’t mean. If something’s wrong, then exposure will help to correct it. Like Justice Brandeis said almost a century ago, ‘sunshine is the best disinfectant.’”
This applies to both physicians and politicians. I hope we find that politicians are as ethical as physicians are. If so, the public will be well served.