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DC Reforms Physician Payments Law

August 5 2011

Following lobbying by US MR association CASRO, the District of Columbia's Board of Pharmacy has agreed to revise its regulations, which previously demanded the disclosure of payments made to physicians in exchange for participating in market research.

Regular check-ups: CASRO continues to monitor state and federal laws on pharma informationD.C.'s AccessRX Act of 2004 requires pharma manufacturers to report all payments made in connection with marketing. While the act did not specifically apply to payments made to healthcare practitioners in return for participating in market research surveys, D.C.'s Board of Pharmacy extended the ruling to include the disclosure of these payments.

CASRO met with the D.C. Board of Pharmacy's Executive Director and the full Board several times during the past six months to argue that market research payments to physicians for their participation in research are separate from direct marketing and should not be subject to the reporting requirement.

As a result, the Board of Pharmacy agreed to alter the AccessRX Act to include the wording that market research must be conducted by an independent survey research organization; that the pharma client must not know the identity of the practitioners who participate in research; and that the payments are determined and made directly by the survey research organization.

This decision follows the repeal of a similar law last month by the state of Maine, as well as the recent reform in Vermont of a law relating to 'prescriber-identifiable' data. In June, the Marketing Research Association (MRA) secured an amendment to the Colorado Pharmaceutical Transparency Act, exempting payments for healthcare practitioners who participate in MR projects from a more general ban.

CASRO is continuing to monitor and respond to similar legislation in other states, but hopes that the new federal law will 'stifle' state legislation on the issue.

The industry body explained in a statement: 'So long as the identity of the physician respondent is blinded to the manufacturer, payments made to physicians as compensation for participation in market research are now not reportable under the Sunshine Payment Act, D.C.'s AccessRx Act and under Minnesota's similar statute.'

Massachusetts, which has considered repealing its own physician payment reporting statute several times, also exempts market research payments when the research is conducted in a double blind fashion.

Web sites: www.casro.org and www.mra-net.org .

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

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