PostScript goes to the Hill this week, where the Senate Aging Committee held a hearing on academic detailing, the practice of providing doctors with unbiased, evidence-based drug information to counteract pharmaceutical sales pitches.  The hearing was held in anticipation of legislation from Sens. Herb Kohl (D-W) and Richard Durbin (D-IL) to build a federal academic detailing program.

According to the BNA Health Care Daily Report, “The Kohl-Durbin proposed academic detailing legislation would provide grant money to public entities…for hiring academic detailers who would provide educational materials at doctors’ offices and conferences.”

Among those who testified were Dr. Jerry Avorn, a Harvard Medical School professor and lead of the Independent Drug Information Service in Pennsylvania; Sharam Ahari, a former drug-rep who now educates about insider tactics of sales reps; and Allan Coukell, policy director of the Prescription Project.

The BNA also reported that a Senate committee aide called the bill a cost-saver and anticipated strong bi-partisan support.  Read the Prescription Project report on the cost-effectiveness of academic detailing here.

More coverage in the Wall Street Journal Health Blog, ABC News, and Medical News Today.

Good day, Sunshine

And yesterday on the other side of the Hill, Reps. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) and and Pete Stark (D-CA) announced a companion bill to the Senate’s Physician Payments Sunshine Act.  Both bills would require drug and medical device companies to disclose payments to physicians twice yearly in a centralized and public online database.

The Prescription Project is a member of the National Coalition on Medicine and Marketing, which supports both bills. Read DeFazio and Stark’s news release here.

Data-mining bill falls in Evergreen State

The Washington state legislature came close to passing a data-mining bill that would have prevented the commercial use of prescriber data in that state, but fell a few votes short at the close of session.  To find out more on what happened, check out Kate Petersen’s interview with state Rep. Jamie Pedersen at the NLARx website.

Firms settle in drug-pricing case

And news of a third settlement in a 2002 drug-pricing class action lawsuit came this week.  Plaintiffs were awarded $125 million in the case, which alleged that drugmakers artificial inflated the Average Wholesale Price, used by many public and private payors to set drug prices.  Read all about it at the PAL blog.