PHARMACY

Eli Lilly announces support for gift-giving transparency

BY Drew Buono

WASHINGTON Eli Lilly is the first drug maker to support a federal proposal requiring drug and medical device makers to disclose payments, gifts, honoraria and travel reimbursements given to doctors, according to published reports. The company said the proposal is essential to restore public confidence between physicians and the industry.

“We believe that being transparent is one way to help re-establish that trust,” said Jack Harris, vice president of Lilly’s medical division.

Sens. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Herb Kohl, D-Wis., authors of the bill introduced last fall to create a national registry of physician payments, said Lilly’s backing will build support for the bill.

“Eli Lilly’s endorsement goes to show that transparency of the financial ties between doctors and drug makers is not only sensible, but doable,” Kohl said.

The bill would require drug and medical device makers to report anything given to a physician when the total value exceeds $500. That would not include product samples, certain educational materials, certain direct training and equipment loans.

Beginning in 2011, companies could be fined from $1,000 to $250,000 annually for failing to report payments.

Mike Bigelow, assistant general counsel for Lilly, said the company worked with Grassley on changes to the bill that made it more workable, including a later starting date and having it pre-empt state laws.

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Sanofi-Aventis, Debiopharm sue W.C. Heraeus over Eloxatin patent

BY Drew Buono

BRIDGEWATER, N.J. Sanofi-Aventis and Debiopharm have filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey against W.C. Heraeus, in which they accuse the company of helping generic drug makers infringe a patent on their active ingredient for the colorectal cancer drug Eloxatin.

In the suit, the plaintiffs claim that Heraeus manufactured the active pharmaceutical ingredient in Eloxatin for Mayne Pharma, Sandoz and Ebewe Pharma. The three companies independently submitted applications to sell generic versions of the drug before the 2013 expiration of the ‘874 patent.

Sanofi and Debiopharm have asked the court to issue a permanent injunction restraining Heraeus and its officers from selling and importing generic oxaliplatin products claimed in the patent into the U.S.

Currently, there are no FDA-approved generic versions of the drug, which had worldwide sales of $2.35 billion in 2007, according to Sanofi.

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FutureScripts launches new Web site

BY Drew Buono

PHILADELPHIA FutureScripts, a pharmacy benefit manager in Philadelphia, has unveiled a new website, www.futurescripts.com. The website is a tool for plan participants, health care professionals and benefit managers to help find key information about the drugs on FutureScripts’ formulary, how safe prescribing procedures work and much more.

“The new website allows our customers to find vital information about their medications—whether a drug is available as a generic and what that drug costs compared to similar medications,” said Paul Urick, senior vice president of FutureScripts. “Our website also provides health care professionals and plan participants the latest updates on the drugs on our formulary.”

Through the site, plan participants can find a participating pharmacy within the FutureScripts’ national network of more than 60,000 retail and specialty locations by ZIP code search or by entering a pharmacy name benefit managers can read about the latest pharmacy trends through the online FutureScripts InSight newsletter. The frequently asked questions section features the most common inquiries received by FutureScripts, ranging from ‘What is a 96-hour temporary supply?’ to ‘How do I request an exception to an age, gender, or quantity limit?’

“Overall, our new site was designed to service the needs of our customers and was developed in response to their suggestions,” said Urick. “We expect to further enhance and customize our website to fit the evolving needs of plan participants, employers, health care providers, and pharmacists.”

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