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Health Serv Res. 2010 Feb;45(1):98-114. doi: 10.1111/j.1475-6773.2009.01048.x. Epub 2009 Oct 13.

Show us the money: lessons in transparency from state pharmaceutical marketing disclosure laws.

Author information

  • 1Center on Medicine as a Profession, Columbia University, 630 West 168th Street, P&S Box 11, New York, NY 10032, USA. sc2254@columbia.edu

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To assess legislation requiring drug companies to report gifts to providers, and to evaluate the information obtained.

DATA SOURCES:

Data included legislation in Vermont, Minnesota, Maine, Massachusetts, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia, and company disclosure data from Vermont.

STUDY DESIGN:

We evaluated the strengths and weaknesses of state legislation. We also analyzed 4 years of company disclosures from Vermont, assessing the value and distribution of industry-provider exchanges and identifying emerging trends in companies' practices.

DATA COLLECTION METHODS:

State legislation is publically available. We obtained Vermont's data through requests to the state's Attorney General's office.

PRINCIPAL FINDINGS:

Of the state laws, only Vermont's yielded robust, publically available data. These data show gifting was dominated by a few major corporations, and <2 percent of Vermont's prescribers received 69 percent of gifts and payments. Companies were especially generous to specialists in psychiatry, endocrinology/diabetes/metabolism, internal medicine, and neurology. Companies increasingly used loopholes in the law to avoid public scrutiny.

CONCLUSIONS:

Disclosure laws are an important first step in bringing greater transparency to physician-industry relationships. But flaws and weaknesses limit the states' ability to render physician-industry exchanges fully transparent. Future efforts should build on these lessons to render physician-industry relationships fully transparent.

PMID:
19840133
PMCID:
PMC2813439
DOI:
10.1111/j.1475-6773.2009.01048.x
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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