New Jersey may restrict physician-industry relationships

Across the U.S., states are mulling restrictions on relationships between doctors and industry (perhaps because the federal legislature is busy with one or two little health issues of its own?) This week, New Jersey joined the list of states challenging such relationships, spurred by a critical report from the state attorney general's office.

The New Jersey AG released a report this week recommending that the state impose tough new rules governing physician interactions with drug and devicemakers, including:

* Banning physicians and their office staff from accepting food from pharmas, whether in their office, at facilities or in commercial venues like restaurants.

* Requiring doctors renewing their licenses to disclose whether they'd accepted more than $200 worth of payments and/or gifts from industry during the prior two years.

* Mandating the state to create a public database of physician disclosures.

* Restricting the sale of "prescriber-identifiable" prescription data for commercial databases, data now used by pharmas to improve sales pitches to doctors.

If these recommendations were to be enacted, New Jersey would have some of the toughest rules in the U.S. The state's doctors are already worried, arguing that they made physicians do extra work and don't slap down the bad actors in industry. But at the moment, we're just talking about recommendations. It's hard to tell just how many of these recommendations will be enacted as of yet.

Get more background on New Jersey's plans:
- read this Wall Street Journal piece
- read the NJ Attorney General's report (.pdf)

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