Prescription Project Applauds Move Requiring Pharmaceutical Gift Disclosure

Contact: Mona Miller, 202.552.2135, Kathy Melley, 617.275.2861


Boston, MA - 09/11/2007 - The Prescription Project, a national campaign to end the influence of pharmaceutical marketing on physician prescribing decisions, today applauded U.S. Senators Charles Grassley (R-IA) and Herb Kohl (D-WI) for their proposed legislation to require manufacturers of pharmaceutical drugs, devices and biologics to disclose the amount of money they give to doctors through payments, gifts, honoraria, travel and other means.

“The pharmaceutical industry spends $29 billion in marketing to physicians each year and the often-undisclosed financial relationships have been proven to undermine the quality of health care and increase costs,” said Robert Restuccia, Executive Director of the Prescription Project. “The collective impact of gifts, speaking fees, classes, trips and lunches harms medical care and the reputation of physicians alike. Senators Grassley, Kohl and their colleagues are to be commended for taking leadership to sever these financial ties.”

The Physician Payments Sunshine Act would apply to manufacturers with $100 million or more in annual gross revenues. The proposed legislation builds on existing disclosure laws in Minnesota, Vermont, Maine and West Virginia and would require that the Secretary of Health and Human Services to create a national database that is available online with payment information listed in a clear and understandable manner.

“That fact that federal legislative leaders are now taking on this issue underscores the scope of the problem and the need for reform,” said Restuccia. “The public has the right to know what factors are influencing their physicians prescribing practices. Though some in the medical community are showing important leadership and adopting stringent policies to limit the impact of pharmaceutical marketing efforts, this legislation will encourage many more to adopt strict guidelines.”

Yesterday, Boston Medical Center and Boston University School of Medicine announced new stringent guidelines to prevent conflicts of interest between doctors and pharmaceutical companies.

Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Ted Kennedy (D-MA) are original co-sponsors of the Grassley-Kohl bill introduced yesterday. Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) has also introduced a similar proposal in the House of Representatives.

About The Prescription Project 

The Prescription Project is led by Community Catalyst in partnership with the Institute on Medicine as a Profession. Created with The Pew Charitable Trusts, the project promotes evidence-based prescribing and works to eliminate conflicts of interest in medicine caused by pharmaceutical marketing to physicians by working with academic medical centers, professional medical societies, public and private payers, and state and federal policymakers. For more information, please visit www.prescriptionproject.org.

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