Gooznews says ‘Well-I-Never’ to results from a survey by marketing researchers at PeopleMetrics that talked docs about sales rep interactions around atypical antipsychotics, grouping them into ‘Fully Engaged,’ ‘Engaged,’ ‘On the Fence,’ ‘Disengaged’ (all terms for prescribing potential, we presume). The survey concluded that “emotional components such as friendship with the reps are the strongest indicators of Fully Engaged physicians,” and will be “the most impactful drivers of physicians’ prescribing behaviors.”

Reading this made us think of another industry opinion survey, released last month by the Pharmaceutical Researchers and Manufacturers of America, that showed relationships with sales reps have relatively light impact on final prescribing decisions.  (That survey coincided with the trade industry’s introduction of new guidelines, which prevent those non-influential reps from giving doctors non-influential gifts or lavish meals.)

TIME  has a great story on prescriber education that focuses on South Carolina’s program SCORxE, or South Carolina Offering Prescribing Excellence, “which trains its pharmacist-reps to visit doctors’ offices armed with unbiased studies.”   TIME says that as Congress considers a new bill, the Independent Drug Education and Outreach Act of 2008, SCORxE is receiving unexpected support and enthusiasm from government leaders looking for ways to improve evidence-based prescribing in their state. 

The Boston Globe looked at biotech and medical device companies’ reactions now that Gov. Deval Patrick signed the cost and quality bill with pharmaceutical marketing restrictions. According to the Globe, companies that threatened in advertisements and op-eds last week to leave Massachusetts or halt clinical trials there now have no plans to move operations.  In addition, “Patrick said he is confident the state health department could develop regulations consistent with both the law and the state’s commitment to strengthen the life sciences sector, a statement that reassured some executives.”

And Bernard Carroll at Health Care Renewal digs deeper into the conflict storm around Alan Schatzberg, the Stanford psychiatrist who was the focus of a recent conflict of interest by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA).  Carroll discusses the ways in which Schatzberg’s position as principal investigator in NIH-funded trials for the drug mifepristone, a depression treatment created by Schatzberg’s own company, Corcept Therapeutics, muddied reports on the drug’s efficacy. 

The Reader can’t do Carroll’s dot-connecting justice, but we encourage you to read for yourself.

The American Psychiatric Association, where Schatzberg is slated to take the reins next year, is taking a look at its own ties.  The American Medical News checks in with the APA Ad Hoc Workgroup on Adapting to Changes in Pharmaceutical Revenue, which was appointed to review its reliance on and ties to industry last Spring and will report in October.

According to the AMN, “Pharmaceutical revenue accounted for 28%, or $14 million, of the 38,000-member APA’s 2007 budget.”

The Health Care Blog has a discussion of the UK’s National Institute for Clinical Excellence, as presented at a recent HealthTech lunch in California. Interesting discussion as the Congress considers a comparative effectiveness institute, introduced by Senators Max Baucus (R-MT) and Kent Conrad (D – ND) before the summer recess.

And to make sure folks on the Hill hear from the folks not at the rallies and fundraisers, our friends at Prescription for Change/ Consumers Union got in ‘the RV’ (we wish it had a name ending in –mobile, but can’t find one on the site) and are driving across the U.S, talking to people struggling to afford health care and those going without.  We can’t help wondering if the Cover America crew has ever been stuck behind PhRMA’s ‘Help is Here Express’ or McCain’s ‘Straight Talk Express’ at the tolls.

Now that we think about it, maybe it’s better the RV remains unnamed.