Week in Review, April 21, 2015

CMS tries to clarify the Open Payments review and dispute process, GSK considers changing its compensation program, and a Florida pharmaceutical manufacturing company is charges with selling unapproved products.

April showers bring May flowers, or so the saying goes. Well if you live in the southeast or northeast corner of the country, it will apparently be an extra flowery May. Rain, rain and more rain has fallen over a good chunk of the country. While that rain is certainly a good thing, the accompanying flooding isn’t. Luckily, sunny weather is on the way according to the pundits and folks can dry out. As we wait for those flowers dry out enough to bloom, we’ll rain some compliance information down on you in this week’s Compliance News in Review.

The Sunshine is back out over the medical community, but the mood is a little gloomy. CMS held a conference call for reportable recipients under the Sunshine Act to discuss the Open Payments review and dispute process. CMS reiterated its stance, that it will not intervene in disputes, but will be monitoring the process. The agency is particularly interested in the number of disputes that are initiated and how many remain unresolved. Reportable recipients expressed frustration that there was not enough context or consistency among manufacturers in how payments are classified under the “nature of payment.” This makes it difficult for reportable recipients to determine whether a payment is correct. CMS said input from all parties would be required before any changes are made.

The winds of change are blowing for GSK and its sales rep compensation structure…again. A task force has been put in place to examine how to simplify the company’s “Patient First” program. The current program establishes bonuses on factors such as product knowledge and understanding the needs of patients and doctors, rather than prescription numbers. A GSK spokesperson says the company remains committed to their commercial model, and while the company has looked for ways to simplify the program in other countries, the fundamentals of the program remain the same.

There’s been no singing in the rain for Florida based Stratus Pharmaceuticals. The distributor had $1.5 million in unapproved drugs seized by U.S. Marshals. The confiscation of the drugs came at the request of the FDA and U.S. Attorney for the Southern Florida District. According to the FDA, Stratus was marketing and distributing a number of unapproved drugs, including an antibiotic skin cleanser, a topical cream to treat psoriasis and eczema, and a topical ointment for treating wounds. The drugs were manufactured by Sonar Products of New Jersey.

With that, we bring this rain-soaked edition of the News in Review to a close. Remember, if the winds of change are long overdue for your compliance training curriculum, the PharmaCertify™ suite of customizable compliance solutions offers the up-to-date training where your learners need it most – in the field and at their fingertips.

Have a safe (and dry) week everyone!

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