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No More Free Lunch in California?
Provisions of Bill SB 1765

The California legislature recently passed SB 1765 (aka, "fair drug marketing bill"), which requires pharma companies to comply with PhRMA and OIG Guidelines.

The pharmaceutical industry has often been accused of lavishing gifts and free meals on doctors with the intention of influencing their prescribing decisions. That is the premise, for example, of a report published recently by the California Public Interest Research Group (CALPIRG) entitled "'Tis Always the Season for Giving."

CALPIRG claims that to increase their chances of face time with a doctor, drug reps come armed with more than a few pens and notepads. They bring chocolates and watches and offer expensive meals and trips. The cost of these freebies, claims CALPIRG, is passed on to the consumer in higher prices paid for drugs. "The bottom line," said Emily Clayton, CALPIRG's Healthcare Associate and author of the report, "is our drugs don't have to cost as much as they do. If drug companies stopped trying to influence prescription-writing by giving gifts to our doctors, then consumers, insurers and the government could all save money on prescription drugs."

SB 1765, sponsored by CALPIRG, would require pharmaceutical companies -- and also any person who engages in pharmaceutical promotional activities on behalf of a pharmaceutical company -- doing business in California to "adopt and update a Comprehensive Compliance Program (CCP) for interactions with health care professionals." SB 1765 is currently awaiting signature by Governor Schwarzenegger.

The following topics are covered:

  • Voluntary Guidelines
  • Provisions of the Bill
  • Exemptions
  • Schwarzenegger in a Tight Spot?

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PMN39-04
Issue: Vol. 3, No. 9: October 2004
Word Count: 977

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