Week in Review, August 12, 2013

The PharmaCertify Team

Break out those LPs and dust off your turntable, Monday was Vinyl Record Day! Count us among those who still miss that crackling and popping quietly emanating from our favorite disco, rock or R&B album. And we can’t forget all of that amazing cover art – Kansas, Left Overture, Yes, Relayer, or of course the Beatles, Sargeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, just to name a few. Before we lose ourselves (and you) too deeply in the musical formats and artwork of yesteryear, we first turn our attention to the rhythm and blues of this week’s News in Review.

Allegations of bribery by pharmaceutical companies in China continue to spin. Documents provided to a Chinese media outlet accuse Sanofi of paying $280,000 in bribes to over 500 doctors. In the documents, a whistleblower claims doctors were paid 80 yaun every time a patient bought one of the company’s drugs. Sanofi officials claim they are taking the allegations very seriously, but made no comment as to whether they were conducting their own investigation.

The DOJ is marching firmly to the False Claims drum beat, as the agency has filed a brief asking a federal appeals court to overturn a decision by a US district court against Takeda. The whistleblower suit claimed the company hid adverse events associated with a pair of drugs, causing those drugs to be prescribed more often than if the adverse events had been known, and subsequently causing false claims to be submitted. A U.S. district court judge dismissed the case, saying the whistleblower had failed to provide evidence of the false claims, and the adverse events were not material to the decision by the federal government to pay for the drugs.  The ruling went on to assert that False Claims Act liability could not be premised on failure to report adverse events to the FDA. The DOJ believes that adopting such reasoning could affect the government’s ability to enforce the False Claims Act.

The CME Coalition has a new release to help CME program providers and others navigate the Sunshine Act. The group’s Sunshine Act Compliance Guide provides recommendations on issues like meals for attendees and speakers and unaccredited CME. The guide also features a “compliance decision tree” to help CME program organizers make quick decisions on physician payments.

CMS had a hit of its own with the release of more FAQs on the Open Payments site. The list now includes information on how newsletters that include disease state information should be handled; an answer on whether textbooks donated for general use are reportable; and clarification on the 90 day exclusion for the loan of a medical device.

It’s been more of the same old sad song for reps trying to access oncology practices over the last year. For the second year in a row, oncologists were the most restrictive specialty, with 65% enforcing moderate to severe access restrictions. New products seemed to be the key, as reps carrying a new product saw doctors 10 times per year on average, compared to 7 times per year for those detailing older drugs.

Well, that’s about it for this week’s Review. If you’re looking to round out your compliance training playlist, PharmaCertify’s Good Promotional Practices module covers the “classics,” like gifts, meals and entertainment, while mixing in new topics like promotion through social media.

Have a great week everyone and we’ll see you right back here on this same frequency next week!

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