Week in Review, August 3, 2012

The PharmaCertify™ Team

A tropical storm is churning in the Atlantic, the summer Olympics are going strong and the temperature is steaming hot. Yes, summer is in full swing, but over the weekend the first glimmer of fall appeared! The NFL kicked off its pre-season with a game between the Cards and the Saints. Relief from the heat is on the horizon! You could practically feel the crisp air and see the falling leaves. While there was only one game this past weekend, the rest of the league will be in action soon, so you still have time to dig that foam finger or team towel out of storage. Before you do though, take a gander at the week that was. Down, set, hike! Here we go.

Let’s kick off this week with news of pharma and med device advertising going digital. A publisher of medical journals and texts says advertisers are moving to digital platforms. Why… because that is where the doctors are. Use of iPads by medical professionals is on the rise. Medical journal publisher, Wolters Kluwer, has commitments from 50 companies, including several top pharmaceutical and medical device companies, to advertise in a digital format. To encourage companies to adapt their ads, the company no longer offers the option to purchase print only ad space and instead they bundle print and digital ad space. As it turns out, more time is spent viewing journal ads through apps than through traditional print. Several manufacturers are also incorporating video in their ads.

Pay-for-delay deals are facing a possible judicial sack on both sides of the Atlantic. Here in the US, the Third Circuit Court for Appeals issued a decision that such arrangements are anti-competitive. The Federal Trade Commission has been critical of pay-for-delay deals, and a spokesman for the FTC said the decision by the court was a step in the right direction in “solving this very real problem.” Both generic and branded drug makers argue that the deals are simply a way for solving patent disputes. Across the pond, the European Commission has brought the first anti-trust case against a drug maker for a pay-for-delay deal. A Danish drug company is accused of violating EU anti-trust laws through deals with generic companies that delay the entry of a generic competitor for as much as two years. The Commission says the drug maker may have caused consumer harm through its deals. The company refutes the charges and says its practices are compliant with both EU and national competition laws.

Olympus, the world’s largest maker of endoscopes, is calling a penalty on itself…well a potential penalty. The company discovered “irregularities” in a doctor training program in Brazil and has reported the matter to the DOJ. The company says a violation of the FCPA may have occurred. According to Olympus, the issue springs from the way the company may have handled expenses for travel, food and entertainment for doctors. The DOJ is also looking into the company’s marketing in the US.

Over at Bayer in the UK, there’s been an acknowledgement of a breach of the ABPI Code. Apparently, an employee created and distributed drug information without the company’s knowledge. Three documents were that had not been through the company’s review process were distributed. Some of the volatile material in the documents included comparative claims, inaccurate data, lack of fair balance, and the discussion of license uses. In all, the company has admitted to 12 breaches of the Code.

Vermont has not moved the ball forward in quelling pharmaceutical spending in the state. Despite the transparency brought by the state’s disclosure law and the banning of gifts, pharmaceutical companies have continued to spend at pre-law levels. With changes in the statute, the collected data can be difficult to compare, but according to the state’s Attorney General’s office, the level of spending has been roughly the same the law was passed.

Like the summer, the clock is ticking down on this week’s Review. We hope everyone locates their tailgating essentials in preparation for the weekend’s games. It may still be a bit warm to enjoy our tailgating favorite, chili, but a few burgers and dogs on the grill and an ice cold beverage should hit the spot. Have a great week everyone!

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