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Author Topic: Prescription Drug reform?
msquared
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This was in todays USA Today.

Feds warn drugmakers: Gifts to doctors may be illegal

By Julie Appleby, USA TODAY

The Bush administration told doctors Tuesday essentially: Buy your own golf balls,concert tickets and vacations because drugmakers who offer such incentives risk running afoul of the law.

In a draft meant to offer guidance to the industry, the Office of the Inspector General took aim at some common practices and said they could lead to civil or criminal charges.

Suspect activities include:
Paying doctors to act as consultants or researchers in marketing efforts.

Paying pharmacies or doctors to switch patients from one drug to a competitor.

Providing scholarships, grants for research or other gifts with more than nominal value to doctors.

The guidance comes after years of concern about some drug industry marketing practices. Critics say such tactics influence doctors to prescribe certain drugs and lead to higher costs for consumers. The draft lays out for the first time in one document what the government expects.

The draft — now up for 60 days of public comment — says some nominal-cost gifts are OK but does not give specifics. Instead, it says a voluntary ethics code adopted this summer by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America should be considered a "minimum standard."
That code says sales reps can buy doctors meals on occasion but only in conjunction with medical education. Golf balls or bags emblazoned with drug company logos are not allowed. Neither are tickets to entertainment events, cash payments or other incentives given for prescribing products.

The draft guidance also says drug companies can face charges for reporting average wholesale prices that differ substantially from what is actually charged — and touting those pricesin marketing.

That's because the government uses those prices on the few drugs covered by Medicare. If the drugs are sold for less, doctors can bill for the higher amount and keep the difference. It's a tactic drugmakers use to
lure doctors to their products, costing taxpayers $1 billion annually, the government estimates.


Does anyone have a problem with this? I see it as a great step forward. I am actually surprised that the drug companies have been allowed to do some of the things listed.

msquared


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Everard
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I have no problems with it.

One of the firsts for the Bush administration.


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Mike_W
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An excellent example of a positive role for government in society and the economy. Good on them.
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msquared
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OMG, Ev and I agree on something.

Now all I need is TomD, Baldar and RedSkull to agree. I feel a rousing chorus of Kum Ba Ya(sp?) comming on.

Common sense is breaking out all over the place.

msquared


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Everard
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*Won't break the camradirie with any comments*
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Falken224
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Damn, I have nothing to disagree with either.

Where's Yukon? He could make this a lively discussion . . . oh, that's right.

Though I bet we could get Baldar to disagree if we asked him to.

Goodness knows this thread's not going anywhere without a good, solid opposing viewpoint.

-Nate

[This message has been edited by Falken224 (edited October 03, 2002).]


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maniacal_engineer
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now if we can just get something similar going with trial lawyers......

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Tom Grey - Tigger
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I do have a small problem with:
"Providing scholarships, grants for research or other gifts with more than nominal value to doctors. "

Research is expensive, so are scholarships. Help, even with some strings attached, is useful. Even if it's research designed to show one, new drug, is better (usually just a little) than the older or generic drug.

Lot's of Eastern European medical research gets funding from wherever they can. If some good studies are funded by "biased" money, at least the good study is available and can lead to less costly alternate studies which are less biased--but in practice, there seems very few really biased studies.

When a drug maker has a newer, better drug, sponsoring research is much better marketing, in terms of knowledge about life and real effects of the drug, than mere advertising.

Mine is a pretty small complaint about what could be a fine way to reduce the gov't fraud on reported prices vs real prices.

Were Medicaid modified to require the consumers to pay some for their drugs, such that they had an incentive to choose those with real lower prices, this would more likely result in a bigger reduction of drug costs to the gov't.


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