Improving Value

Sunshine Laws (disclose conflicts of interest)

Another important form of transparency surrounds conflicts of interest. Physicians can have certain financial relationships with industry can create conflicts of interest such as:

  • accept company gifts of various kinds, including meals and drug samples;
  • act as promotional speakers or writers on behalf of companies; or
  • have a financial interest in a medical product company whose products they prescribe, use, or recommend.1

Disclosure policies—called Sunshine Laws—are commonly used to regulate conflicts-of-interest and there is limited evidence that while it may not go far enough, disclosure policies to curtail referrals and treatment decisions that represent a conflict.2



1. There is a large volume research indicating that self-referral has a major effect on increasing medical costs. Levin, David C.; Rao, Vijay M., "Turf Wars in Radiology: Updated Evidence on the Relationship Between Self-Referral and the Overutilization of Imaging," Journal of the American College of Radiology 5 (7): 806–810
2. Matthew Chao, Regulating Conflicts of Interest through Public Disclosure: Evidence from a Physician Payments Sunshine LawCalifornia Institute of Technology (February 2015).