PHARMACY

Minnesota mulls expansion of medical disclosure rules

BY Jim Frederick

MINNEAPOLIS Minnesota lawmakers are considering new legislation to strengthen the rules on disclosure of gifts and payments to doctors by drug companies. If passed, the bill could make the state the first in the nation to also require medical device makers to reveal gifts and compensation to the physician community, according to the state’s largest newspaper.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports a growing movement in the state legislature to toughen 15-year-old disclosure requirements to include medical device manufacturers. A hearing is set for today before the Committee on Health, Housing and Family Security to discuss the proposal.

In recent years, some states have responded to growing alarm over influence peddling by drug makers with stiffer rules and penalties regarding gifts and other rewards to doctors who dispense their products. The U.S. Congress is also considering legislation that would pre-empt state laws regarding gift giving by the pharmaceutical industry.

A move in Minnesota to include medical device makers in disclosure requirements would expand that oversight, although some device makers reportedly favor federal transparency regulations over a patchwork of state rules.

The bill under consideration in Minnesota would ban most gifts to doctors, and also require that financial arrangements between suppliers and doctors be disclosed to patients, according to the Star Tribune.

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Texas congressman asks reason for six-month delay on FDA confiscation of Celsus’ contaminated heparin

BY Alaric DeArment

WASHINGTON The Food and Drug Administration waited six months to confiscate contaminated supplies of the blood-thinning drug heparin from Cincinnati-based Celsus Labs, and a congressman from Texas wants to know why.

Last month, United States Marshalls seized 11 lots of the drug from Celsus after the company allegedly failed to properly recall it on its own.

Contaminated heparin has been blamed for several hundred adverse reactions and 81 deaths across the country, though no deaths have been linked with Celsus’ heparin. The contamination comes from over-sulfated chondroitin sulfate, which mimics the blood-thinning properties of heparin and was mixed with several lots of the drug using ingredients from China.

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Specialty Pharmacy Summit to take place in March

BY Alaric DeArment

SHORT HILLS, N.J. A large specialty pharmacy network and group-contracting organization will be host of the fifth annual Specialty Pharmacy Summit in March.

Armada Health Care announced Tuesday that the summit would take place at the Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas from March 10 to March 13. Armada expects almost 1,000 people to attend, and they will represent more than 50 percent of the total annual expenditure on specialty pharmacy in the United States. Last year’s summit included more than 500 specialty pharmacy providers, industry-channel partners and representatives of industry-associated vendors, as well as PBMs and insurers.

Armada said the summit would give specialty pharmacy providers an opportunity to evaluate new products, gain knowledge of industry trends and network with peers, payers and vendors.

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