MedPac approves disclosure recs

Last week, the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission approved recommendations that would require pharmaceutical and medical device companies to disclose payments to clinicians, academic medical centers, continuing medical education programs, and other health care entities in a public database.

We discussed the recommendations and their potential influence on the next Congress last week here.

Medical school mashup

Conflicts of interest in academic-industry relations were the hot topic at the annual meeting of Association of American Medical Colleges last week, said Stanford School of Medicine Dean Phillip Pizzo in his Dean’s newsletter last week.

Speaking of academic-industry relations, Emory University has announced that it has formed an ethics panel to look into its management of researcher conflicts of interest. The move comes after a Senate Finance Committee investigation into the extra-curricular and undisclosed industry payments of Dr. Charles Nemeroff led to his stepping down as chair of Emory’s psychiatry department last month.

Check out RxP director Rob Restuccia’s op-ed on why greater transparency like the kind the Finance Committee is seeking is essential for good medicine, and find out more about the new Emory ethics panel here.

Hunting caps

Based on the GlaxoSmithKline’s recent comment that it will be capping industry payments at $150,000 per doctor per year in line with the industry’s current standards, Ed Silverman at Pharmalot went on an epistolary hunt to see exactly what those industry norms were. Many of the responses he received from companies suggested they were looking at current practices, and referenced compliance with the revised PhRMA code which, incidentally, is silent on caps on payments to doctors.

Papers weigh in on pre-emption

And thought it seems forever ago, it was just last week: Before there was Election Hubbub, there were opening arguments in the Supreme Court’s hearing of Wyeth v. Levine, the preemption case that will determine whether consumers can file suits over FDA-approved drugs in state courts. Here are opposing editorials from the Boston Globe and Wall Street Journal – we’re sure they won’t be the last – and the Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report provides a good soup-to-nuts.

Subcommittee refutes FDA safety finding

In a follow-up to a story we touched on last month, Integrity in Science Watch reported that the FDA subcommittee assigned to look at the FDA’s prior ruling on bisphenol-A “blasted the agency for declaring the plasticizer safe, saying the agency used unacceptable criteria for selecting studies to inform its deliberations.” Some groups had been concerned with a possible conflict of the subcommittee chair, who received a large undisclosed gift for his University of Michigan research lab from a Michigan-based plastic maker.

Despite the subcommittee report, the FDA issued a statement saying it stands behind its position that BPA is still safe for water bottles everywhere.