SEOUL, June 27 (Korea Bizwire) – The South Korean government is introducing new legislation in its fight against corruption, including regulations that will require pharmaceutical companies to divulge payments made to doctors and pharmacists starting next year.
Under the new health care reform, pharmaceutical companies that offer financial compensation to medical staff are required to keep records of all the transactions, which must be presented at the request of the minister of Health and Welfare (MOHW), the ministry announced on Monday.
Often called in the industry as the ‘K-Sunshine Act’ given its similar nature to the Physician Payments Sunshine Act in the U.S., the new reform was put in motion with the intention of bringing transparency and stability to the market by making it a legal requirement for companies to keep records of financial transactions in the medical industry.
As pharmaceutical companies are expected to be hit with a fine of 2 million won for a failure to provide records of payments to doctors, the government is hopeful the K-Sunshine Act will help tackle corruption in the South Korean pharmaceutical industry.
“Given the demand from society for information transparency and openness, as well as the importance of transactions of medicine and medical supplies, we believe the new policy, despite possible inconvenience that might follow, is worth going forward with,” MOHW official Yun byung-cheol said.
Despite worries over the extra workload, some pharmaceuticals showed support for the measure, as the new medical law could help companies monitor their own financial activities and detect any immoral business conduct.
The MOHW argued its new policy will also help doctors and pharmacists as requiring them to keep records of financial transactions could protect medical personnel from false charges of corruption.
Though the Pharmaceutical Affairs Law prohibits pharmaceutical companies from giving rewards including general rebates to medical personnel, some cases are exceptional if companies can prove it’s in the public interest to do so, such as when clinical trials are involved.
Ashley Song (firstname.lastname@example.org)