Beginning today, payments by drug and device manufacturers to physicians and teaching hospitals of $10 or more must be reported on an annual basis to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) provision — called the Physican Payments Sunshine Act — is designed to provide transparency to the relationship between suppliers and users as a means of uncovering any "payola," to use a recording-industry term, in the medical delivery system.

“Collaboration among physicians, teaching hospitals, and industry manufacturers can contribute to the design and delivery of life-saving drugs and devices,” says a posting on the CMS website. “However, while some collaboration is beneficial, payments from manufacturers to physicians and teaching hospitals can also introduce conflicts of interests."

The first payments report is due March 31, 2014, covering the period from Aug. 1 through Dec. 31, 2013, and CMS will publish the data on a public website by Sept. 30, 2014.