US Government May Force Drug Firms to Report Money Paid to Doctors

| Jan 20, 2012

When your doctor recommends a new drug or treatment for your diabetes, do you know if the doctor has received payment from the company that markets the drug or device? If the Obama administration has its way, you will. It is proposing a new law that will require drug companies to disclose payments made to doctors for research, consulting, speaking, travel, and entertainment-even something as minor as coffee and bagels delivered to a doctor's office for a meeting.

According to the New York Times, doctors who take money from drug companies may be more inclined to prescribe drugs in risky and unapproved ways, such as prescribing drugs for "off label" use or prescribing powerful antipsychotic medicines for children. Consumer advocates and members of Congress who support the proposed ruling believe that patients will benefit by knowing if their doctor receives compensation from drug companies.

Under the new standards, if a company has even one product covered by Medicare or Medicaid, it will have to disclose all its payments to doctors other than its own employees. The federal government will then post the payment data on a publicly available Web site.

The Obama administration estimates that more than 1,100 drug, device, and medical supply companies will have to file such reports. Companies that do not fully comply will be subject to a penalty of up to $10,000 for each payment they fail to report. A company that knowingly fails to report payments will face a penalty of as much as $100,000 for each violation, up to a total of $1 million a year. The law also requires drug and device companies to report "any ownership or investment interest" held by doctors or their immediate family members, other than holdings of publicly traded stocks.

Of course, there is push-back, notably by the Advanced Medical Technology Association, which represents makers of medical devices. The association has indicated that such reporting may make doctors less willing to serve as consultants, which could "chill innovation."

The law is currently open to comment by the public, after which the comments will be reviewed by Medicare.

Source: New York Times

Click Here To View Or Post Comments

Categories: Consumer Advocates, Device, Diabetes, Diabetes, Disclose Payments , Doctor Has Received Payment, Drug, Drug Companies, New Drug, New York Times, Obama Administration, Off-Label, Payments Made to Doctors

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Posted by Anonymous on 24 January 2012

Those bagels or the free office lunch for 30 could have lowered the price of drugs instead. I worked in a psych office and the Abilify rep asked the MD if he wanted to listen to a speech given by a drug rep in Hawaii free of charge and he could bring his wife along free of charge. Of course the Doc said yes and told me to cancel his patients for the rest of the week as he was going to Hawaii all expenses paid! Wouldn't it have been wonderful if the drug rep would have just said for the doc's participation the drug company would lower all their meds by 1/2 price? The Doc ended up prescribing more Abilify than ever before. Viscious cycle.

Posted by Anonymous on 24 January 2012

" law that will require drug companies to disclose payments made to doctors for research, consulting, speaking, travel, and entertainment..."

Why isn't this already the law? I"m amazed that something like this isn't already in place. Why is any proposal that would benefit consumers perceived as controversial?

Posted by Wanakure on 24 January 2012

This is a great idea, but since the medical industrial complex owns congress, what are the chances it will pass? Our political system is built so that nothing so radical can occur. It's like trying to get universal single payer health care. The idea has obvious merit. Drug companies start influencing doctors when they are students, taking them out to dinners, to cocktail parties, offering them tickets to sporting events or concerts, fancy pens with the company's name featured, free notebooks and reference books with the company's name easy to see.
Accepting such gifts creates a sense of obligation and loyalty to the corporations.

Posted by Anonymous on 25 January 2012


Posted by Anonymous on 25 January 2012

Great law if it works. No perks should come from drug companies to providers/doctors with the patient as the ploy. It happens all the time as it stands. The ol' you wash my hands and I'll wash yours ...

Posted by Anonymous on 25 January 2012

If the doctor is going to be cozy with the pharmaceutical company and prescribe drugs that they have promoted, and given kickbacks to do so, then indeed it should be made public. If they feel they are doing the right thing then of course they won't mind it being public.

Posted by Anonymous on 27 January 2012

I agree with this and in fact, in MN it's been in place for quite a while. However, why doesn't the government do the same with special interests that bribe our politicians???? Same difference the way I see it!

Posted by Anonymous on 27 January 2012

I too am a health care worker and Not a doctor. I think the law would be terrific for consumers. Too many doctors are on the take.

Posted by Anonymous on 29 January 2012

Any financial relationship between a doctor and a pharmaceutical company should be disclosed, especially where personal gain is involved. We go to our doctors for help in managing/curing illnesses and when a doctor can personally profit from pushing a particular 'brand' of pharmaceutical drug it destroys the trust you placed in the patient/doctor relationship because it calls into question whether or not the best course of action is really being pursued.

You can argue its more big government and consumers will pay for it but I disagree because now it will also mean greater competition among suppliers, not just who can better woo the doctors with more elaborate freebies. A medical professional should never feel pressured or loyal to a pharmaceutical company. The doctors loyalty is always to the patient, first and foremost.

Posted by Anonymous on 6 February 2012

Why are primary care doctors telling their patients to go to a certain specialty physician and when you go and then get yhe bill you find out that phician is not covered by your insurance or is not part of the group that your insurance pays @ 100%. I want to believe in my primary phycician but who is he really working for? Furthermore after you waste your time and money you really don't have the energy to look for another physician because the ins. company states your primary MD. must refer someone..

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