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Minnesota Board Clarifies pro-Research Ruling

May 21 2010

In the US, the Minnesota Board of Pharmacy has issued a clarification confirming that survey research companies can legally conduct market research with health care practitioners in the state. The move follows lobbying by MR associations CASRO, MRA and PMRG.

The Board clarified the language of one of its Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) to underline an earlier decision that payments to Minnesota health care practitioners for participation in bona fide market research are NOT prohibited or restricted.

The three associations worked together with the Board of Pharmacy and the Office of the Minnesota Attorney General to get the confirmation issued.

The Board of Pharmacy explained that the intention of the original FAQ was to prohibit pharmaceutical manufacturers and wholesale drug distributors from disguising so-called 'marketing surveys' as legitimate market research in order to market, sell, or promote a drug to practitioners. In doing so it confirmed that the FAQ, which addressed the MN statute that prohibited pharma manufacturers' 'gifts to practitioners', was never intended to prevent research companies from conducting research with health care practitioners on behalf of pharmaceutical clients.

The three associations welcomed the decision and expressed their strong support for the Board's prohibition of 'sugging' - selling under the guise of research, which MRA's LaToya Lang and Howard Fienberg describe as 'antithetical to professional survey research codes and ethics and unacceptable to both survey research companies and the internal research departments at pharmaceutical companies.'

Minnesota has also recently relaxed legislation preventing exit polls.

The associations are online at www.casro.org , www.mra-net.org and www.pmrg.org .

All articles 2006-19 written and edited by Mel Crowther and/or Nick Thomas.

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