A Healthy Blog

Massachusetts health care — wonky, with a healthy dose of reality

Prescription Drug Reform

Catch-Up: Good Stuff To Watch, Hear, Read and Sing

It's been a busy week here, so here's a catch up of some good stuff I've been holding onto for a few days: 1. Watch: No Wavering on Health Reform. After new House Speaker DeLeo made an off-the-cuff comment on health reform, NECN caught up with him, Senate President Murray, and Governor Patrick. All re-affirmed their strong commitment to keeping health reform going. The report below also includes bonus footage of the Oral Health Heroes event Monday. Read more »

Globe to DPH: Don’t Back Down

We couldn’t agree more. Today’s Globe editorial discusses the need for disclosure of ALL payments to health care practitioners by the pharmaceutical and medical device industries. We should not give in to the industry scare tactics, which are now using the threat of pulling conventions out of Boston if the regulations stand: "The president of the Greater Boston Convention and Visitors Bureau, Patrick Moscaritolo, is asking the state to delay implementation of the new law, which is set to go into effect July 1. Nonsense. The law makes sense and should go forward as planned." Read more »

The Tide Becomes A Flood (UPDATED)

Over the weekend we blogged that the tipping point on disclosure of payments by pharma and device makers has already been reached. Between state and federal initiatives, and the rush to get ahead of regulation by voluntary disclosures, the industry will have to change. Those trying to hold back the tide (like the hotel industry) don't see what's happening. More evidence today of the tide becoming a flood, from the WSJ: A medical society representing U.S. spine surgeons has taken the rare step of requiring that researchers disclose not just the existence of financial ties to medical-device... Read more »

It's Almost Sad: The Rx Tipping Point

Sometimes the world starts changing so fast, those wedded to the status quo don't even realize what's happening. So today the Globe leads with the pleas of the pharma and device industry via their fronts, the hotel and convention industry. Over at DPH, over a dozen hotels submitted word-for-word identical testimony. The industry, wanting to cling to the old ways, doesn't understand that it's all changing. Read more »

HCFA’s 2009 Legislative Agenda - Part 5

Over the next few days, HCFA will be highlighting our 2009 legislative agenda. Parts one and two covered children's health and health reform. Our second installment covered quality, electronic health privacy, and disparities. This entry looks at the key priority of the Prescription Reform Coalition. Stop Prescription Data Mining Senator Montigny and Represenative Kulik filed bills this week to prohibit the use of health data for marketing purposes, what is known as "data-mining." This practice, employed by the pharmaceutical industry, is where pharmaceutical companies buy doctors’ prescribing... Read more »

Neutralized: “their word, not mine” (DPH Pharma Hearing Report)

Yesterday was the second day of hearings by the Department of Public Health’s hearings on the pharma gift ban and disclosure regulations. UMass Medical School was our host for the day and it was far from "same thing, different place." Read more »

Transparency on Pharma Opposition to Transparency

Thursday's Washington Post provided the perfect backdrop to Friday's DPH hearing on the pharma gift ban and disclosure regulations. In an article titled "With More Oversight on the Horizon, Drugmakers Work to Polish Image," the Post reported that drug companies are now voluntarily submiting "to a host of marketing restrictions in an attempt to preempt stricter regulations that lawmakers in both parties are pursuing." Stating the obvious, the Merck spokesman said, "We understand clearly that we are entering this debate at a time when the pharmaceutical industry's standing is low." In addition... Read more »

Dear DPH: The eyes of the nation are on us

Friday morning and next Monday, the Department of Public Health (DPH) will hear testimony from advocates, consumers and industry about the pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers’ code of conduct and disclosure regulations. As we have previously discussed (here and here), these regulations exempt industry payments for research from the public disclosure requirements mandated under the health care cost control legislation that became law this summer, Chapter 305. Jonathan Jaffe has this to say about the need for strong state laws in the New Jersey Star-Ledger: Read more »

NYT: "No Mugs, but What About Those Fees?"

The New York Times has joined the Boston Globe, Berkshire Eagle, and numerous national experts in calling for full disclosure of pharma industry payments to doctors and other prescribers. And the headline for the editorial ("No Mugs, but What About Those Fees?") is great, too. In the editorial yesterday, the Times agrees that the voluntary PhRMA code has "too many loopholes." None of the steps yet contemplated by industry or professional groups would completely sever the medical profession and many individual doctors from their far more disturbing financial ties to the drug industry. Read more »

Happy 2009! No More Pens!

NY Times photo of branded pens in collection of Dr. Jeffrey F. Caren Yesterday's New York Times featured an article about PhRMA’s recent decision to impose a new voluntary ban on small branded items. Beginning today, PhRMA’s voluntary code of conduct will prohibit drug companies from giving items such as pens, pen lights, paperweights and more to doctors. According to the article, nearly 40 large drug companies have signed on to the new code of conduct while others just said they “intended to comply with the guidelines.” Read more »


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