Week in Review, September 16, 2013

The PharmaCertify Team

If you are reading this, we’ll assume you survived another Friday the 13th. How did you spend the day? Did you stay at home and not take any chances or was it business as usual? We of course stayed abreast of the compliance news of the week, albeit while keeping our lucky rabbit’s foot at the ready and digging out the usual four leaf clover. After all, Friday “December” 13th will be here in a flash. So, now that you’ve thrown a dash of salt over your shoulder and safely navigated the cracked sidewalks of your daily commute, we invite you to check out the News Week in Review.

Accepting drug samples could prove to be bad luck for Australian physicians if new ethical guidelines are accepted. The Royal Australasian College of Physicians is proposing a ban on drug samples in its draft guidelines on interactions with the industry. The RACP says samples are largely a “marketing exercise,” and access to samples is in the best interest of patients.

Not long ago, representatives from the European Union Chamber of Commerce were talking about how no Chinese pharma companies were being investigated for bribery. Well those words must have had brought some bad voodoo with them. No sooner was the ink dry on that announcement then news came that Chinese insulin maker, Gan & Lee, and a division of Sino Biopharmaceutical, were both accused of paying bribes to doctors to increase sales. In the case of Gan & Lee, a whistleblower says the company gave away overseas trips to doctors in order to boost sales in advance of an initial public offering. The revelations about Sino were made via a report on China’s state run television network. Sino was also accused of providing vacations to physicians in order to increase its sales.

Executives at Quest Diagnostics and LabCorp should have avoided ladders and black cats since they now find themselves the subjects of a false claims whistleblower suit in Virginia. The case, which was unsealed in August, alleges the two companies overcharged Virginia’s Medicaid system for diagnostic tests. In one instance, Quest is accused of charging Medicaid $10.42 for a test it charged others as little as $1.42. The complaint, which was filed by Hunter Laboratories and its CEO, Chris Reidel, is asking for $11,000 in civil penalties for each false claim.

PhRMA and the Maine Pharmacy Association are two of the groups looking for all the luck they can get as the group challenges Maine’s drug importation law in court. The new law allows consumers to purchase drugs from mail order pharmacies in Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the UK. The lawsuit claims drugs from the other countries are not subject to the same safety controls as those produced in the U.S. and the FDA has already warned states about their residents purchasing drugs from other countries.

The International Society of Medical Publication Professionals (ISMPP) has created a task force to help clarify the impact of Sunshine on medical publications. While publishers have no direct reporting responsibility, the activities publishers perform in conjunction with researchers could fall under the definition of indirect payments. The task force identified a variety of activities that should be tracked, including statistical support provided specifically for the publication. In addition, applicable manufacturers should track all transfers of value associated with publication costs and keep the data available for reporting and the dispute process.

CME providers have been making good use of their good luck charms recently. According to a report from the ACCME, the number of providers receiving accreditation with commendation has risen from just 3% in the November 2008 cohort to 28% in the July 2013 cohort. The total number of accredited CME providers of CME is down, suggesting that the tough ACCME standards may be thinning the herd.

With that, we’ve reached the end of another Review. While you may have been lucky enough to navigate another Friday the 13th, leaving your compliance training to chance in this age of increased regulatory focus is not such a good idea. More than ever, your sales and marketing teams need to integrate solid compliance practices into their daily activities. That’s why our Good Promotional Practices module includes topics like Gifts, Meals and Entertainment, Meetings and HCP Consultants and On-Label Promotion. Contact Sean Murphy at smurphy@nxlevelsolutions.com to see a content outline.

Best wishes for a great week everyone!

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