The Hill reports on what appears to be a “man bites dog” story, a reversal by the pharmaceutical and medical device industries by endorsing a Senate bill that would require them to disclose gifts to physicians. The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), the Advanced Medical Technology Association (AdavMed), and several key drug companies changed course and announced support for the physician-gift disclosure bill (S. 2029) sponsored by Sen. Chuck Grassley and Sen. Herb Kohl. Drug and medical technology companies have long fostered a perception of conflict of interests by making gifts and providing high-end meals to doctors who might be influenced to prescribe their products because of the chummy relationships. According to The Hill:
The bill would create a public database detailing when doctors get at least $500 in money or gifts from a single company during a year; gifts worth less than $25 would not be included. Penalties would range from $1,000 to $50,000 per violation, up to a $250,000 annual limit.
The industries did not support an earlier version of the bill that would have required disclosure of every gift worth more than $25.
And what may explain the industries change of heart, the bill would pre-empt any current or new state disclosure laws, some of which would likely be stronger than the provisions of this law, the paper suggests.
One step forward and two steps back?