News Week in Review, December 10, 2013

Studies reveal non-clinician HCPs have a favorable view of industry relationship, AstraZeneca partners with Harvard to improve drug testing, and the focus on the FCPA intensifies.

Well, the year is almost over, and if you’re like us, you’re probably wondering how December got here so fast and what happened to the rest of 2013. Before we put another year in the books though, we at least have the usual list of holiday movies and specials to enjoy. While you search the listings and set your DVRs to record, we’ll deliver a little entertainment of our own, with this week’s News in Review.

In terms of their relationships with the industry, non-physician clinicians generally feel It’s a Wonderful Life, albeit one with the potential for risks and conflicts of interest. An analysis of multiple studies related to the industry and non-physician HCPs like registered nurses, nurse prescribers, and Physician Assistants, shows the providers typically have a favorable view of industry interactions and say they rely on industry representatives for important information. The authors of the review suggest institutions expand policies on industry interactions and the Sunshine Act to include non-clinician HCPs.

AstraZeneca researchers will Deck the Halls with researchers at Harvard. The company announced they will collaborate with the institution on an initiative to improve drug testing in humans. The technology, called Organs on Chips, uses human cells in a flexible polymer to imitate human organs. The two organizations will work to develop an animal version of the technology that will then be used to compare drug testing results between humans and animals.

Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town, with early gifts, by way of Vermont and CMS. The Vermont AG’s office released a memo announcing the 2013 disclosure forms and databases will be ready sometime this week, and that the draft guidance for 2014 will be released soon. A conference call to discuss the guidance will be held December 19. CMS posted several documents to the Open Payments website, including XML and CSD schema for reports and sample report examples.

Some in the industry might say the Department of Justice and Securities and Exchange Commission are acting more and more like Scrooge when it comes to FCPA investigations. According to the head of the DOJ’s FCPA Unit, the DOJ is investigating 150 cases and expects to bring “very significant cases” in 2014. The SEC has received over 3,000 whistleblower tips involving FCPA investigations and with cooperation increasing globally, regulators expect the prosecution of individuals for FCPA violations to continue.

Was that The Grinch Who Stole Christmas lurking about the offices of Reckitt Benckiser? Perhaps it was one of the agents from the OIG and IRS who removed boxes of documents from the company’s offices in Virginia. A company spokesperson confirmed that a warrant was served by the US Attorney’s Office for Western Virginia, and that the company was cooperating with the investigation. The purpose for the warrant was not disclosed.

Employees at Advance Sterilization Products haven’t been feeling merry lately. The FDA announced a $1.25 million settlement with the company and two of its executives for the selling of adulterated and misbranded product. The FDA claims the company knew it did not have sufficient data to support the expiration date on its sterilization monitoring product.

That brings us to the end of the News in Review for this week. As you close out 2013 and finalize your compliance curriculum for next year, remember the PharmaCertify™ suite of eLearning modules and mobile apps offer your staff the up-to-date content they need where and when they need it most – in the field and at their fingertips.

Have a great week everyone!

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