Navigating Compliance: Italy’s Sunshine Act and Pharmaceutical Industry


As of June 26, 2022, Italy ushered in a new era of transparency in its healthcare sector with the enactment of the Italian Sunshine Act. This landmark legislation aims to curb corruption and enhance transparency by imposing disclosure obligations on pharmaceutical, medical device, nutritional, and healthcare companies.

Key Aspects of the Italian Sunshine Act

Scope and definition

The Act casts a wide net, covering companies engaged in producing or marketing drugs, medical instruments, equipment, and healthcare services. Transparency reporting will require you to disclose financial relationship activities such as payments, gifts, and other benefits provided to Healthcare professionals (HCPs) and healthcare organizations (HCOs). The Act is targeting Healthcare decision-makers due to their impact value on resource and product allocation within the healthcare domain. While certain specifics of the Act are still being refined based on industry feedback, the fundamental concepts outlined here remain prominent.

Penalties for non-compliance

Failing to report according to the Transparency Act will result in heavy penalties. The Act highlights the following sanctions for non-compliance:
• A fine of €1,000 plus twenty times the amount of each transfer of value or other disbursement.
• €5,000 to €50,000 fines for failing to report the transfer of shares and bonds to HCPs or HCOs, or for not reporting the payment of fees for intellectual property licenses.
• €5,000 to €100,000 fines for providing false information about transfers of value, agreements, share transfers, or license payments.

Transparency obligations

You are required to publicly disclose transfers of value (ToV) to HCPs and HCOs every semester, provided the individual value of the transfer exceeds €100 or the annual overall amount exceeds €1,000. Therefore, agreements with HCPs and HCOs resulting in direct or indirect benefits must be disclosed each semester.

Enforcement of sanctions

Violations of the Act can lead to administrative sanctions, including fines, and are subject to public disclosure. The Act thus encourages whistleblowing, allowing Italian citizens to report violations directly to the Ministry of Health.

Preparing for Compliance

As you navigate the complex terrain of transparency regulations and integrate these mandates seamlessly into your operational framework, it is essential to maintain robust data management standards. Establishing core concepts for a successful transition will be crucial. Central to this initiative is the setup of streamlined processes and a meticulously structured implementation approach.

Below are guidelines essential for achieving compliance and ensuring alignment with transparency regulations. In the first section, we focus on processes and management, and in the following section, we introduce an in-depth guide on preparing your data and technology management.

Processes and training

  • Policy review: You should assess and update compliance policies to align with the Act’s requirements. Incorporate clauses including provisions for disclosing financial transactions consistent with transparency obligations when interacting with HCOs and HCPs.


  • Compliance processes: Develop robust processes and systems to track and document all interactions and financial transactions with HCPs and HCOs. This includes implementing standardized procedures for data capturing, storage processing, and reporting data on transfers of value such as gifts, honoraria, etc.


  • Data collection: Establish standardized processes and templates for data collection, including events, speaker engagements, and other interactions with HCPs and HCOs. Develop guidelines for logging VAT information and personal data under data protection regulations.


  • Training and awareness: Conduct training sessions for relevant staff members to ensure awareness and understanding of compliance requirements and their obligations under the new regulation. The change management elements should be directed toward fostering a culture of transparency and ownership within the organization.


  • Audit: Establish monitoring and auditing mechanisms to regularly assess the quality and accuracy of transactional data. Conduct periodic reviews, audits, and reconciliations to identify discrepancies, anomalies, or data quality issues.

Data management and integration

  • Privacy: Review existing data management processes to ensure compliance with privacy regulations while developing privacy notices to inform HCPs and HCOs about data disclosure and their rights.


  • Sources: Identify all sources of all financial activity data related to interactions with HCPs and HCOs, including financial records, contracts, invoices, expense reports, event engagements, consulting services and other documentation.


  • Systems: Evaluate existing data management systems and IT infrastructure to ensure it can support the collection, storage, and reporting of transparency data. It is advisable to centralize data management processes to ensure that all relevant data is stored in one repository to facilitate easier access, retrieval, and analysis of data for reporting purposes.


  • Governance: As part of establishing compliance processes noted above, it is crucial to develop specific data governance policies and procedures to govern the collection, storage, and use of transparency data. Define roles and responsibilities for data stewards and establish protocols for data validation, verification, and quality assurance.


  • Technology integration: Leverage technology and automation tools to streamline the process of collecting transactional data. This may involve data integration tools and techniques to harmonize data sets from different sources and systems to create a comprehensive view of interactions with HCPs and HCOs. Additionally, reporting and compliance processes can also be streamlined by integrating data collection processes with existing enterprise systems, thus enhancing efficiency and accuracy in disclosure procedures.

Looking Ahead

As the Act is yet to be fully implemented, it is imperative to utilize the remaining transition period to prepare and take action for the coming compliance obligations. Embracing transparency reporting not only ensures compliance but also fosters trust and credibility within the Italian healthcare ecosystem. Adherence to the Act is not just a legal requirement but a testament to your organization’s commitment to transparency and integrity in your interactions with healthcare professionals and organizations. As you invest in improving data management, automating and integrating technologies, and streamlining processes for transparency reporting, the Italian Sunshine Act can become an opportunity to improve the current systems in place. This proactive approach can significantly enhance the quality of data across the board, benefiting not only transparency reporting but also directly setting you up for a successful journey towards becoming a data-driven organization.

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