Coca Cola And Sunshine Payments

Have a Coke and a smile. Drink Coke and teach the world to sing. Everything tastes better with Coke.

Those iconic jingles back in the 70’s and 80’s the Coca-Cola Corporation conveyed the life-enhancing benefits of Coke. In response, the world lapped it up like, well…soda.

Fast forward to the 2000’s and things are quite different. Finally catching up with common sense, science has realized that sugary drinks including sodas have been an integral contributor to our global obesity problem. Coke and other soft drinks are no longer something to feel good about but potentially hazardous to our health. In fact since 1998, sugar-sweetened soda consumption has been on a downward trend since 1998.

Ironically, despite the perceived health concerns associated with its product, a number of medical societies and institutions have been accepting millions of dollars in grant money from Coca-Cola. According to a recent New York Times article, the organizations such as the American Academy of Pediatrics, American College of Cardiology have been recipients. A list published on Vox Science and Health notes that funding has even gone to Brigham and Women’s and the Baylor College of Medicine. Much of this has gone toward research and educational programs focused on the value of physical activity.

Why is this relevant to Sunshine Payments?

A review of the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Open Payments website fails to find any mention of financial relationships with big food or drink companies. This is because the Sunshine Act a provision of the Affordable Care Act, this measure mandates that only financial relationships between the pharmaceutical/medical device industries and individual physicians and institutions are publically reported. The ultimate goal is to prevent the influence of these monetary exchanges on treatment decisions and help the public understand which physicians and institutions where there may be such potential.

Does it make sense for big food/drink to report relationships in CMS Open Payments?

There is no clear evidence that funding from pharmaceutical or medical device companies will influence practice any more than that from other sources. Additionally, omission of companies like Coca-Cola from Open Payments fails to acknowledge the role that lifestyle choices play in disease management and the influence that physicians and premier medical institutions have on these decisions.

If the objective is to ensure that unbiased management decisions are made in the clinical setting, the limitation of CMS Open Payments to the pharmaceutical and medical device industries fails to appreciate the complete ecosystem involved in the prevention and management of disease. This is also evident in the decision to omit prescribers such as nurse practitioners, nurse midwives and physician assistants from the reporting mandates.

In face of the changes in attitude toward soft-drinks and other processed foods, Coca-Cola still appears to still want the world to sing in harmony. When health practitioners and researchers, it should be required that we know who the voices are.

How Can I leverage Sunshine Payments Data?

Sunshine Payments provides a wealth of competitive data that can be leveraged. The ability to categorize the competition’s spending by category and physicians is tremendous. The data can also be integrated into KOL identification and mapping projects. To learn how Snowfish can make this data work for you, please contact us by going to


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