Week In Review, May 27, 2011

The PharmaCertify™ Team

Woo hoo! Holiday weekend ahead! What better way to start the celebration than by reading this week’s PC News Week in Review? Okay, maybe there are better ways, but what else are we supposed to say?

We lead off this week with the California AG announcing a $241M settlement with Quest Diagnostics. It is the largest recovery ever under the state’s False Claims Act. Quest was accused of over charging Medi-Cal, the state Medicaid program, for tests over a 15 year period. Additionally, the company offered kickbacks to providers in exchange for patient referrals, with some of the referrals being Medi-Cal patients.

In an unprecedented move, AstraZeneca CEO, David Brennan, announced the company would no longer pay for doctors to attend international scientific and medical congresses; saying the company should not be doing anything that would give the perception of inducement. The head of the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations said it was a “dramatic change”, and that he expects others to follow suit. It’s certainly food for thought as the industry faces increased scrutiny under the FCPA and with the upcoming implementation of the UK Anti-Bribery Act.

A couple of interesting studies made the PC News this week. First was a study by Ernst and Young regarding ethics in European companies. The study showed that one third of employees were prepared to offer some sort of bribe to gain business, and that nearly half of employees were unaware of their company’s anti-bribery policy. The survey included 2300 employees, at all levels in the organizations, across 25 countries. Most employees said management offered no leadership when it came to compliance, with 25% of the respondents saying they did not trust management to behave ethically. That “tone-at-the-top” is indeed critical.

The second study focused on medical students’ interactions with the pharmaceutical industry. The study found that most med students have some sort of interaction with the industry, with up to 90% of students in their clinical years receiving some sort of education material from industry representatives. Unaware of the regulations, most of the students thought there was nothing unethical about accepting the gifts. The authors recommend that education be provided to med students regarding physician-industry relationships.

Check out this video from Main Justice (the website, not the government office). Main Justice interviewed former DOJ Deputy Chief of the fraud department, Kirk Ogrosky. In the interview, Ogrosky talks about the DOJ’s healthcare fraud initiatives, including the prosecution of executives and the impact of the new SEC whistleblower program on healthcare fraud cases. The video is available on the right hand side of the page.

Want to know what the OIG is up to? Just follow them on Twitter! In addition to joining the Twittersphere, the OIG also launched a re-vamped website – definitely more visually appealing and user friendly.

Lastly, we have some exciting news of our own here at PharmaCertify! We are pleased to announce the arrival of a new module, Good Promotional Practices (we call him GPP for short). GPP covers topics ranging from gifts and meals to fair balance in promotional communications. And it’s written to be relevant for your entire commercial team, not just the sales reps. To learn more about the new addition to the PharmaCertify family, contact Sean Murphy at smurphy@pharmacertify.com.

That brings us to the end of another week in review. We hope you enjoy the long weekend, and the “unofficial” start of summer. Most importantly, we send out a big THANK YOU to the men and women of our armed forces. Have a safe and relaxing Memorial Day weekend everyone!

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