Week in Review, April 29, 2014

Pakistan joins the transparency parade, Arkansas’ Supreme Court won’t reverse the Risperdal decision, one Google executive wonders why pharmaceutical companies aren’t using YouTube more, and the DOJ offers a reminder about the need for a proactive approach to compliance.

California Chrome. Vicar’s in Trouble. Wicked Strong. Titles to obscure B movies? Nope, they’re just some of the participants in the “greatest two minutes in sports.” The countdown is on to the Kentucky Derby! We have less than a week to polish up those mint julep cups and shop for that perfectly obnoxious large hat. In the meantime, sound the call to the post, it’s time for the News Week in Review.

First out of the gate is the news that Pakistan is considering physician-industry interaction transparency requirements. The Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan is driving the increased transparency initiative and Pharma Bureau, a trade group of multinational industry companies operating in Pakistan, welcomes the move. The Bureau sees consistent guidelines and enforcement as a step toward better patient care and an improvement in the industry’s image.

According to a new study, doctors who don’t accept drug samples are a long shot to prescribe branded drugs. The study, published in JAMA Dermatology, compared offices in an academic medical center, where samples are not permitted, to private practice offices that do accept samples. Only 17% of the prescriptions written for adult acne drugs in the academic centers were for branded drugs, compared to 79% of the scripts being written for branded drugs in the private offices.

No Big Bazinga from the Arkansas Supreme Court regarding its reversal of the Risperdal verdict. In a 4-3 decision, the court said it would not reconsider its March decision to overturn the verdict. The verdict was overturned when the court said the state’s Medical Fraud False Claims Act did not apply to the Risperdal manufacturer because the law was codified in way that conflicted with the intent of the law. Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel asked for the ruling to be reconsidered because the issue of how the law was codified was not raised but the state or the drug manufacturer.

The folks at Google think pharmaceutical companies could benefit from a little more Social Inclusion. The head of Google’s healthcare-focused digital marketing team, David Blair, says the industry could utilize YouTube more effectively. Online viewership has now eclipsed television, and according to Blair, one-third of You Tube users share what they watch. YouTube is also the second largest search engine behind Google and Blair believes pharmaceutical companies are missing an opportunity to make an emotional connection through a disease awareness video or wellness campaign.

According to experts speaking at the Dow Jones Global Compliance Symposium, companies should set an aggressive pace when scrutinizing their own compliance programs. A deputy attorney general from the DOJ told attendees at the Symposium that companies are too quick to claim the problem only involved a few employees and that’s one of the first signs of a weak compliance department. Attendees also learned that the U.K., Canada and Germany have all set up units similar to the DOJ’s FCPA unit.

That’s going to bring us to the finish line for this week’s News in Review. We’ll see you right back here next week with another summary of the news from the world of life sciences compliance. As always, thank you for reading and have a great week!

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