Gift ban part of Sen. Murray’s health care bill

On Wednesday, the Massachusetts Joint Health Care Financing committee will hear Senate President Therese Murray’s health care cost and quality.

The Prescription Project, a member of the Massachusetts Prescription Reform Coalition, supports the bill, which includes a total ban on gifts from pharmaceutical and medical device makers to physicians and their families, and provides for an academic detailing program to be established through the state’s public health department.

And it was a newsbuster.

The Boston Globe 1 and 2

Wall Street Journal HealthBlog


Boston Herald 1 and 2

Boston Business Journal

Worcester Telegram

Sentinel and Enterprise


Oregon family physicians go pharm-free

The Oregon Academy of Family Physicians (OAFP) has gone pharm-free, reports the Eugene Register-Guard.  Other Oregon medical centers and private payers are thinking about conflict-of-interest in medical practice, too.

The OAFP, the largest professional medical society in Oregon, announced it will no longer accept industry support for its organizational or educational programming.

This article does a good job of reviewing the literature, the progress, and the industry perspective. RxP director Rob Restuccia talks about how drug samples can serve as another type of inducement for physicians.

For some docs, off-label ads are way off-base

The New Jersey Star-Ledger takes a close look at the guidance on off-label marketing that the FDA proposed two weeks ago.

“It’s easier for them to take a drug they already have and get people to use it for something for which it has not been approved than it is to conduct new clinical trials,” JAMA editor and RxP advisory board member Catherine DeAngelis told the Star-Ledger.

Americans: Love the pills, hate the bill

Big survey out of Kaiser, USA Today, and the Harvard School of Public Health last week on the way Americans are feeling about prescription drugs. Superquick summary: The drugs? Love them. The prices and the companies? Not so much.

Wonder how those responses change with the news today that we are getting the stuff for free in our water…

Man bites dog

A Massachusetts-based medical device company has sued a doctor for writing a scholarly article that found its artificial hip inferior to another brand of artificial hip, The Boston Globe reported last week.

Beyond the ultra-iffy grounds for the suit, this sets an appalling precedent for an industry whose companies retain armies of lawyers and have marketing budgets comparable to the GDPs of small nations.

But it’s also an interesting switch-up from industry’s more common game of paying physician-researchers as consultants in hopes that their products get more favorable play in research, or of medical ghostwriting, where doctors put their names to scientific articles that really come from the same place press releases do.

Germ theory => conflict of interest

Anyone who studied history of science (don’t be shy) may appreciate this analogy as much Howard Brody and PostScript did.

In a television interview Brody found, Healthy Skepticism’s Peter Mansfield compared germ theory father Ignaz Semmelweis’ controversial claim in the 1840s that doctors were giving their patients childbed fever by not washing their hands to modern doctors’ incredulity that accepting gifts from companies could harm their patients.

Of course, Mansfield says it better, so read on.