Stanford will put researchers’ industry payments online

Stanford has announced it will disclose the names of researchers and faculty members who receive drug and device company consulting payments on a public website beginning later this year. The move makes Stanford the second major academic medical center, following the Cleveland Clinic, to make public such disclosures, and comes as the Physician Payments Sunshine Act gathers steam in Congress.

“Access to information about physicians’ interactions with industry is key to fostering strong doctor-patient relationships, as well as increasing public confidence in the medical community,” Dean of the College of Medicine Phillip Pizzo said in a news release.

Stanford says it plans to publish the names of all researchers and physicians who make more than $5,000 from industry consulting or speaking in a year, but not the specific payment amounts.  The list will be located here beginning later in the year:

“IDEA” academic detailing bill introduced in Senate, House

The Senate and House have reintroduced a bill that would send pharmacists and nurses head to head with pharma’s nearly 100,000 sales reps to give doctors unbiased information about prescription drugs.

The Independent Drug Education and Outreach Act of 2009 would provide grants to create unbiased educational materials for doctors, and grants to train pharmacists and nurses to make educational office visits to doctors with that information, combating the biased commercial information brought by drug reps. Since last year when the bill was first filed, academic detailing programs have picked up steam in the states, with Massachusetts, New York, Washington D.C. and Maine all implementing state-wide programs this year. Other states that have proposed academic detailing bills this year include California, Minnesota, and Iowa.  IDEA, if passed, could offer these states – as well as other payors and non-profits who accept no pharmaceutical funding – grants to fund their academic detailing programs.

“Academic detailing,” a concept which relies on the pharmaceutical industry’s own tactic of office visits to share unbiased drug information with physicians and other prescribers, has demonstrated cost savings at the national level in Australia, and in Pennsylvania’s PACE program. The bill, if passed, could have important effects as Congress looks to introduce a health reform proposal in a tight fiscal climate.

IDEA is being sponsored in the Senate by Sen. Herb Kohl (D-WI), Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-MA), Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL) and Sen. Robert Casey (D-PA), and in the House by Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA), Rep Frank Pallone (D-NJ), Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA), and Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY).

For more information, check out the Prescription Project’s fact sheet and academic detailing cost analysis here.

PMA leaders in JAMA: drop industry funding

And a group of current and former heads of professional medical associations says groups should work toward a $0 reliance on industry funding, according to a paper published in today’s issue of JAMA. The recommendation is one of ten proposed by the PMA group, which was convened with the support of the Pew Charitable Trusts and spent two years developing the recommendations. The pervasive dependence on industry funding for operating budgets, “inevitably creates the perception and reality of conflicts of interest and jeopardizes public trust,” write the authors.

The authors also recommend that PMA officers be free of financial conflict with industry when they are elected, that practice guidelines be composed without industry support, that industry not have any say in the educational content of conferences, and that PMAs never endorse a commercial product or service.

For more, read the Wall Street Journal, Modern Healthcare, or visit the Institute on Medicine as a Profession website.