New Jersey Task Force To Examine Drug Maker-Physician Incentive Links

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A New Jersey task force will convene for the first time on Wednesday toconsider whether the state should require pharmaceutical companies andmedical device makers to disclose gifts they give to physicians, NewJersey Attorney General Anne Milgram (D) announced Tuesday, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports (Stark, Philadelphia Inquirer, 9/19).

Thetask force will examine the effects of drug and device makers' giftsand fees to physicians on the doctor-patient relationship, as well ashow much gift-giving informs physicians about new treatments. The taskforce also will examine ways to prevent and identify abuses, includingrequiring public disclosure of gifts, limiting payments physicians canaccept or requiring doctors to inform patients about such payments(Johnson, AP/Houston Chronicle, 9/18).

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Milgram said, "The facts gathered by the task force and the [state] Board of Medical Examinerswill be critical in deciding whether additional reforms are needed toeliminate conflicts and provide greater transparency." The panelcomprises 16 members, including state Department of Health and Senior ServicesCommissioner Fred Jacobs, state Board of Medical Examiners associates,physicians, and industry and consumer representatives (Gruen, Newark Star-Ledger, 9/19). Milgram said the committee likely would hold a public meeting before it releases its proposals in six months (Philadelphia Inquirer, 9/19).

NewJersey has one of the largest concentrations of pharmaceuticalcorporations in the U.S. Vermont, Maine, Minnesota, West Virginia andWashington, D.C. already have passed regulations requiring disclosuresof compensation and gift-giving. Last week, Sens. Chuck Grassley(R-Iowa) and Herb Kohl (D-Wis.) called on pharmaceutical companies withannual profits of at least $100 million to release gift-giving andcompensation data on a public Web site created by HHS (Newark Star-Ledger, 9/19).

Ken Johnson, senior vice president for the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, in a statement said that there already are adequate safeguards in place to prevent inappropriate gift-giving (Philadelphia Inquirer, 9/19).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. Youcan view the entire Kaiser DailyHealth Policy Report, search the archives, and sign up for email deliveryat kaisernetwork.org/email. The Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, afree service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

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