News Week in Review, August 26, 2013

The PharmaCertify Team

Summer is winding down, and while we look forward to a holiday weekend, it’s time to get ready for the return of college football! It’s that wonderful time of the year – when we meticulously organize the tailgate party shopping list and dust off the car flags. And as we ponder the critical question of “pork or beef for the weekend barbeque?” we start you with a full menu of the compliance news you need to know, in this week’s News in Review.

We start this tailgate party off with a new state twist on Sunshine. The Oregon Department of Justice accused two heart doctors of breaking the state’s Unlawful Trade Practices law for not revealing to patients they received payments from device maker, Biotronik. The doctors were paid between $400 and $1250 for allowing Biotronik sales representatives in the operating room while the company’s defibrillators were being inserted. The Oregon DOJ said the doctors misrepresented their services as being for the “exclusive benefit of patients” when they didn’t inform patients that the sales representatives would be present during their procedures. A $25,000 settlement was reached and the two doctors agreed to tell patients about any potential conflicts of interests in the future.

Canada scored on its first foreign bribery trial. As a paid agent for a Canadian technology company, the defendant violated a section of Canada’s Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act (CFPOA) when he provided bribes to Air India officials and the India Ministry of Civil Aviations to secure a contract to supply facial recognition software. The case demonstrates the wide berth in the definition of a foreign official under the CFPOA. The court held that the intent of paying a bribe was enough to constitute a CFPOA offence. Sentencing is pending.

The consultant detained in China in the wake of pharmaceutical industry bribery scandals has now been sidelined. According to the British Embassy the consultant, a British national, was arrested by the Chinese government on August 19th. The embassy declined to comment on the specific charges related to the arrest. A spokesperson for the consultant’s family said that his wife and his business partner were also arrested.

A penalty flag has been thrown on another pharmaceutical company for illegal activities in China. A whistleblower told a Chinese newspaper that Eli Lilly paid Chinese doctors $4.9 million in bribes and unlawful payments between 2011 and 2012. Lilly said it had not been able to verify the allegations, but company officials would continue their own investigation into the matter.

Medical meeting planners huddled to discuss the challenges facing their industry. The roundtable meeting of senior level meeting planners cited compliance requirements as one of their biggest challenges. One of the attendees said the issue extended beyond compliance with ACCME standards to industry requirements (e.g. PhRMA Code) and country and state laws. Planners also referenced the increasingly stringent approval requirements necessary to obtain CME credit.

At least one physician can see both sides of the ball when evaluating the Sunshine Act. Cardiologist John Mandrola points out that while patients should know what transfers of value their physicians receive from industry, there are drawbacks to the Act. Mandrola is concerned that the transparency brought by Sunshine will harm innovation by causing most physicians to pull back on their interactions with the industry.

We’re almost a full month past the start of data collection and the Sunshine Act continues to be a hot topic. PharmaCertify’s customizable eLearning module, The Sunshine Act: The Federal Physician Spend Disclosure Law, covers the topics needed to keep you team up-to-date on the scope of data that needs to be collected and what will eventually be made public. Contact Sean Murphy at smurphy@nxlevelsolutions.com to learn more or see a content outline.

With that, we blow the final whistle on this edition of the News Week in Review. Have a great week everyone and Go Team!

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