Aggregate-spend reporting is gradually rising in importance among pharma compliance departments

June 20, 2011
Pharmaceutical Commerce, Pharmaceutical Commerce - May/June 2011,

Latest Cegedim survey shows more activity in preparing for nationwide reporting, but gaps remain

What has been called “the most disruptive force affecting pharmaceutical sales and marketing today”—reporting aggregated payments or “transfers of value” from manufacturers to healthcare professionals (HCPs)—is the subject of a second annual survey by Cegedim Relationship Management (Bedminster, NJ). By the terms of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, companies will have to begin collecting spend data in January, and reporting their expenditures to Washington the following year. Several states, led by Vermont, require such reporting now, and there are movements outside the US to require similar reporting, such as a new bribery law in the UK that was passed this April.

According to the survey, responsibility for reporting is falling mostly on compliance departments (39%), with sales, operations, and marketing also taking a hand. About a third are performing the analysis with basic spreadsheet tools, but 50% of respondents expect to shift to a third-party IT solution in the near future. About three-quarters of respondents are “very” or “somewhat” confident that they are collecting and reporting data in a fully compliant manner.

Aggregate spend reporting requires companies to track expenditures not just by sales reps calling on physicians, but also clinical research projects, speaker panels and similar interactions—including those by third parties acting on behalf of the manufacturer. Pulling these diverse data together is challenging, but respondents report that the biggest challenge is simply correctly identifying the HCPs involved. The usual practice is to build or acquire a customer master list, and to use a combination of address and state license number. (The newer National Provider Identifier, NPI, is still only a small fraction of data types.) Adding to the worries, 59% of respondents have not yet figured out how to approach a global solution for agg spend.

Cegedim is one of a growing number of IT vendors offering agg spend reporting as part of their services. Its offering is AggregateSpend360; Nucleus 360 and OneKey, both master customer data sets, complement the reporting tool.