Bill would make drug, device maker payments public

The debate over pharma and device-maker payments has reached the U.S. Senate, where a bill requiring disclosure of nearly all of these arrangements is now under consideration. Right now, the F.D.A. regulates neither physician gifts nor consulting agreements.

The bill targets both gifts and consulting arrangements--the value of which can exceed $100,000 a year--on the assumption that these payments are influencing prescribing patterns. It follows on existing state legislation in Minnesota and Vermont, which already require this kind of disclosure--as well as pending bills in Maine and West Virginia.

However, it would set a far more stringent set of standards than any state. Not only would it require disclosure of many payments and consulting arrangements, it would also require pharmas and device makers to disclose payments made through third-parties such as universities and conference organizations. It would also require that companies disclose any financing for CME courses.

To learn more about the disclosures:
- read this piece in The New York Times

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