Week In Review, December 2, 2011

The PharmaCertify Team™

Black Friday, Cyber Monday, did you survive? More importantly, did your credit card survive? Bumps, bruises and carpal tunnel syndrome aside, it has been a hectic ride so far for shoppers and retailers alike. However, now it’s time to gear up for round two of steals, deals and early morning lines. Until then, kick back and relax with a hot cup of coffee, cocoa or tea and this week’s PC News Week in Review.

Are sales reps working for “discounted” wages? The Supreme Court will take up the question of whether pharmaceutical sales reps should be paid overtime. At issue is the question of whether sales reps fall into the “exempt” category, which would preclude them from receiving overtime pay. The case was brought to the high court by two GSK sales reps on behalf of a larger class of sales reps from the company. The court will hear arguments in the spring.

You might be shipping some of those gifts you bought for industry colleagues a little bit farther away in the near future. A new study finds that bio, pharma and med device companies are increasingly finding homes outside the “traditional” locations of the Northeast Corridor and the San Francisco Bay area of California. Proximity to research institutions, a highly educated workforce and real-estate prices are just some of the factors for the move to other locations. Areas seeing a growth include Los Angeles, Minneapolis, suburban D.C. and Atlanta.

As we scour the papers for great deals, Serious Fraud Office director, Richard Alderman is scouring his files for high-impact Bribery Act cases. Rather than chase cases that offer quick, immediate rewards, the SFO chief says his office going after the cases that truly put UK based companies and their employees at risk. With that in mind, what can be learned from the recent and first sentencing of an individual under the Act?

If you want to stay off the SFO’s naughty list, then training is your first line of defense, according to an article by two lawyers from Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP. The article provides twelve tips on developing an anti-corruption compliance program. Beyond training early and often, the authors stress the importance of focusing on local labor laws, assuring data privacy challenges are addressed by jurisdiction and developing good whistleblower protections.

Back on this side of the Atlantic, the Lindsey Manufacturing executives found guilty of violating the FCPA back in the summer appear to have received an early gift from a federal judge. The judge is set to dismiss the case against the two due to government misconduct during the investigation and grand jury proceedings.

Roche has agreed to pay $20M to settle a whistleblower suit that alleges the Genentech division promoted a drug off-label and offered kickbacks to physicians.

Failure of the federal government to monitor state agencies prescribing psychiatric medications for children in foster care has prompted a Senate investigation. Some of the children are on as many as five psychiatric medications at once, and these medications are often used off-label. Similarly, an OIG investigation raised concerns over the overprescribing of atypical antipsychotics in nursing homes. The study found there was widespread off-label use of these drugs to treat dementia.

The USF Medical College is joining the long line of med schools with policies aimed to curb conflicts of interest with the industry. The dean of the medical school told the Board of Trustees the move is intended to address the nationwide problem of industry companies paying physicians to promote their products. Last year, the school received a “C” from the American Medical Students Association for its policies on dealing with conflicts of interest.

Walgreens, Kroger Company and other large retailers have sued Pfizer (Wyeth) and Teva for violating anti-trust laws. The companies allege that the two drug makers have conspired to keep a generic version of Effexor off the market.

One sure way to make the PC News is to quote Spinal Tap in an article. We wrap this week’s News up with an article from Drugwonks.com that does just that. Peter Pitts presents 11 (it’s one louder than 10) principles for the healthcare industry to participate in the social media.

Well, that’s it for another News in Review. Remember, with all of the recent focus on corruption and bribery,  tools like our customizable, off-the-shelf FCPA module are more critical than ever as you plan your 2012 anti-corruption program.

Now, it’s time to lace up those running shoes, strap on the shin guards and head out for more Holiday sales. Be careful out there everyone!

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