The PharmaCertify™ Team

Well, it’s April Fools Day and while we toyed with the idea of using some type of invisible ink for this week’s News in Review, the darn Internet got in the way of a good practical joke. We also tried writing the Review backwards but after our editor passed out in exhaustion, we went back to the left to right approach. Okay, enough joking around, time for this week’s News in Review.

The OIG wasn’t joking around when it announced that doctors involved with physician-owned distributorships (PODs) could find themselves on the wrong end of the Federal Anti-kickback Statute. The agency says the financial incentives of the arrangements can lead to unnecessary procedures and the unwarranted use of devices in the POD. The OIG says hospitals and ambulatory surgical centers also need to be concerned about PODs because the Anti-kickback Statute places criminal liability on both sides of the transaction.

No kidding, drug pricing could be the next transparency frontier. Drug stores have started to lobby state legislatures for legislation that would require pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) to release their reimbursement rates. The pharmacies believe that if they had the information, they could negotiate better pricing deals. The move appears to be the result of patent cliff – profit margins are lower on generic drugs, and pharmacies argue the PBMs are maintaining their margins and cutting reimbursements.

According to a new survey, companies are finding the implementation of FCPA policies and procedures for managing third-party intermediaries (TPIs) to be a tricky business. The survey included financial, compliance, legal and procurement executives who manage TPIs. Determining the appropriate level of due diligence required for each TPI and then assessing the risk was the top challenge cited. Other concerns included lack of a company-specific definition of a TPI, and the timeframe for evaluating TPIs.

Conflict of interest continues to be a growing concern at medical schools and academic medical centers. According to the American Medical Students Association, medical schools are expanding their policies to include cover speaking and consulting. But according to a study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, the policies don’t reduce interactions between industry reps and medical students.

That brings us to the end of this week’s Review. If you’re looking to shake things up with your training as we start this new quarter, we suggest starting with PharmaCertify’s Good Promotional Practices online training module. The customizable, iPad-compatible module covers product promotion issues such as promotional speech and fair balance, proper use of promotional pieces, and social media.

Have a great week everyone and keep an eye out for those practical jokes today!