Week in Review, September 24, 2012

The PharmaCertify™ Team

Well, fall officially arrived on Saturday! Bring on the rich colors, cooler weather, outdoor festivals and fairs, and perhaps most importantly, the end of the growing season for lawns most every where.  If none of this inspires you for the turn of season, perhaps last week’s revival of Starbuck’s Pumpkin Latte will do the trick. As you take time to enjoy this beautiful time of year, don’t forget to schedule a few minutes to check in on the compliance news of the past week, with the News in Review.

Winds of change are blowing slowly in Australia. Medicines Australia’s revised Code of Conduct currently sits with a government regulatory agency awaiting approval. The change under consideration is the reporting of monies paid to physicians for speaking and consulting services, including payments for travel and hospitality while providing those services. If the change is implemented, reports will be published beginning mid-2014. Not everyone is happy. Transparency advocates would like to see individual payments reported, not aggregate payments.

Staying in the South Pacific (where it isn’t fall at all), the Penang Health Department is investigating six pharmaceutical advertising claims involving products for heart and kidney diseases. An enforcement representative said none of the ads received the required regulatory approvals.

Moving on to a cooler climate, a compliance professional in Russia explains what “compliance” means to the Russian pharmaceutical industry. He explains that a successful compliance program is not just about making sure your company is following the “rules” as defined by government agencies, but also involves the proper flow of information. A company needs to have systems that allow the information to flow from the compliance team and back from the organization.

A new study finds that physicians have a skeptical view of clinical trials sponsored by industry. Board certified internists were provided abstracts of results for clinical trials for fake drugs. The physicians were informed that the funding for the studies came from either the industry or the NIH, or there was no disclosure at all. Participants were then asked to offer their confidence in the results of the study and whether they’d prescribe the drug. Products related to those studies identified as funded by industry were less than half as likely to be prescribed as those funded by the NIH.

In corporate fraud cases, whistleblowers can definitely rake in the big cash, but the big dollar awards are rare, according to experts. That’s because most cases involve multiple whistleblowers, and the awards are split among the group. Then the relators’ lawyers and Uncle Sam take their cut. Across all industries, five of the top seven awards went to whistleblowers in healthcare cases. Three of those five are from pharma cases: Pfizer, GSK and Abbott. To keep your team reporting to the compliance office instead of their lawyers’ offices, PharmaCertify’s off-the-shelf compliance modules include topics like open door and anti-retaliation policies and are easily customized to include your hotline and contact information.

A new study finds that 25% of pharmaceutical companies do not have dedicated compliance teams in place. (Color us a bit shocked.) According to the researchers, many of the companies believe that compliance needs to be decentralized in order to be in better contact with the issues “on the ground” so they tasked “function-specific personnel with compliance responsibilities.”   Unfortunately, that approach has resulted in business units being unaware of what other units are doing in terms of compliance polices and processes. The researchers recommend that one individual be assigned to oversee all the company’s compliance efforts, and to draw a line between regulatory and commercial compliance responsibilities.

And with that, we come to the end of this week’s NWR. Enjoy the fall weather everyone and have a great week!

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