D.C. Council votes to regulate pharmaceutical reps

After yet another contentious -- one D.C. councilmember called it "feisty" -- final round of voting, a bill to regulate pharmaceutical salespeople passed the D.C. Council in a close 7-6 vote on Tuesday.

The measure makes D.C. the first in the country to license pharmaceutical company sales representatives, able to revoke that license if a salesperson's activities were deemed fraudulent.
The bill's supporters herald it as a way to force and enforce good business practices by a profession that they say has undue influence over physicians, and therefore patients.

But it passes to the chagrin of the pharmaceutical industry and other opponents who consider the new local oversight unnecessary, impossible to execute and redundant with already existing federal oversight.

"I don't understand the logic that says we shouldn't have these additional protections for patients," said Councilwoman Mary Cheh, D-Ward 3, who voted in favor of the bill. "The dangers are real, and the enforcement to date by the federal government is ineffectual."

But opponents worried about the precedent such regulation would set for other sales positions, as well as the effects of promising to police an industry better than the federal government can.
"Over-regulation, misguided regulation, bad regulation affects everybody," said Councilwoman Muriel Bowser, D- Ward 4, who voted against the bill. "I know it won't do what it claims to do."
The bill boasted the same supporters and opponents as in its first reading on Dec. 11, when it also passed by a 7-6 vote.

But the bill's sponsor, Councilman David Catania, I-At large, had amended the bill since then, eliminating an entire passage that would have forbade pharmaceutical reps from data mining, or using area prescribing data and trends as a marketing tool to target specific physicians. He said that measure has been challenged in the New England courts so far and depending on a decision expected as early as Wednesday, he may renew efforts this fall to prohibit such data mining.

Instead, the bill approved Tuesday adds a requirement for physicians to include new pharmaceutical product and trend information in their continuing education mandates to learn more about the industry, as well as new instructions for the D.C. Health Department to track the effectiveness of the bill -- from fines collected to number of licensed salespeople -- after the end of 2010.

The bill, dubbed SafeRx, also mandates that drug reps have a bachelor's degree, adhere to a code of ethics and refrain from giving doctors gifts. Further, it requires physicians to tell their patients when they're prescribing medication for a treatment not specifically authorized by the Food and Drug Administration. Finally, it sets the framework for a new city-funded system of educating area physicians about new drugs on the market.

0 التعليقات:

  ©Template by Dicas Blogger.