Week In Review, May 20, 2011

The PharmaCertify™ Team

The final flight of space shuttle Endeavor, Schwarzenegger scandal, and the head of the IMF tossed in jail…hardly seems like there was anything else going on this week! Never fear, if you missed some of the headlines in the world of compliance, we’ve got you covered. Time for this week of PC News Week in Review to blast off!

Maine Republican lawmakers are moving to repeal the state’s drug disclosure law. With support from the pharmaceutical industry (gasp!) the lawmakers say the disclosure should be left in the hands of the federal government. Democrats are opposed to repealing the law, claiming  that disclosure saves the state millions by keeping costs down.

An article in Time presents a physician’s perspective on data mining, the VT law and the AMA’s physician data restriction program (PDRP). The article begins by discussing an e-mail that is making its way around physicians. The email, allegedly from a physician, states that he/she can’t believe that his/her prescription data is being sold, (right) and urges the recipient to sign up for the AMA’s PDRP. The physician author also discusses the challenge the VT data mining law is facing in the Supreme Court right now, and it appears the high court will not uphold the law. He also points out that the PDRP is largely unknown and doesn’t completely protect the privacy of the physician’s prescribing habits anyway. He goes on to suggest that physicians must take a more proactive role in protecting prescription data.

Physicians (allegedly) may be upset about their prescription data being sold, but they also know better than to bite the hand that feeds them. A recent study found that a large majority of physicians felt that industry sponsorship of CME introduced a greater risk of bias, but only a small percentage were in favor of eliminating the support. Other measures, such as raising fees, holding events in less desirable locations and eliminating free food, to reduce the amount of support from industry, were met with tepid approval.

This week saw the start of an FCPA trial, in which the defendants were nabbed  through an FBI sting operation. Accused of engaging in bribery of Gabonese officials (undercover FBI agents) and money laundering, the defendants argued they did nothing wrong and the FBI manufactured the conspiracy and violated rules regarding handling of informants. The first day of the trial saw attendance from notable government types since this is first trial resulting from “enhanced investigatory techniques” in FCPA investigations. In all, 16 people were arrested as a result of the investigation; many at a Las Vegas gun show. Apparently some things don’t stay in Vegas.

If you would like to avoid being arrested for violating the FCPA in a large government sting, pick up a copy of The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977- A Lay Person’s Guide to FCPA and Federal Sentencing Guidelines from Amazon. Wow, they really do have everything! The 24 year old book provides a de-legalized explanation of the law, as well as commentary from the DOJ about how the law should be enforced.

Not to be left out of all the talk of an impending apocalypse, the CDC, proving that yes, the government does have a sense of humor, posted a highly useful blog about how one should prepare for a Zombie Apocalypse. The post was a tongue-in-cheek approach to disaster preparedness, and it may have worked. A CDC spokesperson said that in just two days it became the most popular CDC blog entry. (Note to self: more zombie stories for the PC blog).

That’s the news for this week! Please check www.pharmacertify.com for more information on our off-the-shelf, customizable training modules on compliance topics ranging from the FCPA to CME and beyond. Have a great weekend, and we’ll see you right back here next week.

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