New Week in Review, November 18, 2013

The APBI amends its Code of Practice, a doctor in Scotland looks for Sunshine, PhRMA sues the state of Maine over drug importation, and a congressman from New Jersey seeks clarification on how food provided to CME program speakers and attendees is reported.

The big day is almost here…if you have a tween or teenager, you are probably well aware that the long-awaited opening of the film, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, is this Friday! With a number of theaters premiering the film a day early, we’re left with precious few hours to practice our skills for the archery tournament and best braid contest. But before we prepare for our time in the Arena, we pause to present you with a week’s worth of compliance news, with the News in Review.

Our first “tribute” comes courtesy of the ABPI, whose members have agreed to amend the Code of Practice to include greater transparency on payments made to HCPs and healthcare organizations. APBI’s chief executive views the changes to the Code as an important first step in correcting the public’s misconception of the relationship between the industry and HCPs. According to a recent British Medical Journal article, he may be onto something. The article reported the results of a recent survey, which found 90% of the nearly 1,055 respondents felt that payments to HCPs should be made public.

As the ABPI moves on with determining the details of its transparency program, a Scottish doctor is hoping a Sunshine Act style law will “catch fire” in his country. The physician has petitioned the government to create a Sunshine Act of Scotland, which would publicly disclose payments to NHS healthcare professionals.

A compliance uprising has been started in Maine as PhRMA and several Maine pharmacy associations are suing the state over its drug importation law. The law allows Maine’s citizens to obtain prescription drugs pharmacies in Canada and from licensed retail pharmacies in the U.K., Australia and New Zealand. PhRMA, and the other plaintiffs, say the law violates the U.S. Constitution and federal laws that control the sale of drugs.

If you’re looking for more information on Open Payments and data submission, CMS has announced a series of webinars, designed to introduce features of the Open Payments system, on November 19. While the webinars are targeted to manufacturers and individuals responsible for creating data submission files for manufacturers, anyone is welcome to attend. A follow up question and answer session will be held December 3.

Speaking of “hunger games,” the language regarding meals at CME events continues to cause confusion. So much so that New Jersey Congressman Robert Andrews sent a letter to CMS requesting that the cost of food provided to speakers, faculty AND attendees of CME events be exempt from individual reporting requirements.

The rule already exempts the speakers and faculty as long as three requirements are met: the program is accredited by one of five designated organizations; payments or transfers of value are not made by the manufacturer directly to speakers or attendees; and the selection of faculty and speakers is not influenced by the manufacturer.

In his letter, Congressman Andrews points out that CMS has already acknowledged that accreditation bodies and industry standards create safeguards against sponsor involvement in educational content. He says the same logic should be applied to the meals provided to attendees.

Well, that’s the news for this week. We leave you this week with a recommendation for a different type of trilogy – one that weaves a compelling and engaging tale of compliance best practices and risk reduction across a broad array of topics. PharmaCertify’s Compliance Overview, Good Promotional Practices and On-label Promotion eLearning modules offer the regulatory and practical content your sales representatives and office staff need to understand the compliance rules and promotional policies that affect their daily activities. They’ve been met with rave reviews by learners of all ages!

Have a great week and, “may the odds be ever in your favor.”

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