Week in Review, October 7, 2013

PhRMA’s assistant general counsel tells physicians the industry is spending millions to avoid reporting mistakes, Canada takes steps to limit access to physicians, and two different whistleblower cases are dismissed.

The PharmaCertify™ Team
In case you missed it, last Thursday was National Techie’s Day. So, if you find yourself lining up extra early outside the Apple store on the day of a new product release, or you can’t help but play armchair engineer while watching The Big Bang Theory, or you have a room in your house with enough computer equipment to launch a space shuttle…you probably had a good week. Rather then regale you with the celebratory details of our parking lot robot battles, we’ll stick with this week’s News in Review.

Garbage in, garbage out, or GIGO, in techie nomenclature, is what PhRMA says its members are working hard to avoid in their forthcoming Sunshine reports. Speaking to a gathering of family physicians, PhRMA’s assistant general counsel, Kendra Martello, said member companies are spending millions to ensure the accuracy of reports as much as possible. She emphasized that disputes between physicians and manufacturers are not good for anyone, but admitted that the industry is unsure of what to expect in the way of physician disputes when the first reports roll out.

A Canadian medical school is rebooting its policy regarding doctors’ contact with industry representatives. The North Ontario School of Medicine is creating a policy that would limit doctors’ contact with representatives. The dean of the school, Roger Strasser, acknowledged the importance of physicians having access to medical information, but only if that information is unbiased and well-researched. He said the policy would be more of a guideline than a rule.

Sanofi’s CEO, Chris Viehbacher, believes the industry needs to interface more with the Chinese government in order to deal with corruption in China. While speaking about doing business in emerging markets, Viehbacher said the industry needs to support the Chinese government’s efforts to deal with the corruption. He went on to say that all the companies under investigation have been cooperating with the government.

A federal judge has resorted to a forced quit shutdown of a misbranding suit against Amgen. The whistleblower in the case, who is a physician, and a co-complainant rejected the $1.8 million settlement they were to share as a result of a federal settlement with the company last year. The judge said that since original settlement was rejected, the government had the right to determine that nothing further could be litigated, so the whistleblower’s case was tossed.

The techies at Google have done an about face and are now offering Business Associates Agreements (BAA) for users of three of its apps, Gmail, Drive and Calendar. The BAAs do not cover any Protected Health Information transferred from one of the three apps to another Google app.

A whistleblower suit against the medical technology company, Masimo, has been dismissed. Three former sales reps brought the suit, saying the company had promoted two of its patient monitoring devices for off-label uses and improperly billed the government. The sales reps also claimed the company withheld sales data and interfered with subpoenas for sales records issued to federal insurance companies. The judge dismissed the case, saying the plaintiffs failed to provide any evidence that the company knowingly promoted the products for off-label use.

And with that, we reach the end of another News Week in Review. We close out this celebration of all things technical by asking if you are making the most of technology to deploy your compliance training solutions. The PharmaCertify™ eLearning modules and iPad apps are designed to deliver critical compliance content where your team needs it most – in the field and at their fingertips.

Have a great week everyone!

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