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Legislative Memo

T 518.465.7511
www.bcnys.org

BILL:

S.2971 (Maziarz)/A.7468 (Gottfried)

Support

SUBJECT:

Disclosure of Gifts by Drug Manufacturers

 

DATE:

May 29, 2008

 

This bill would amend the public health law in relation to disclosure of gifts provided by drug manufacturers or wholesalers to healthcare providers. The Business Council opposes this bill.

S.2971/A.7468 would segregate one sector of the business community and subject them to a litany of rules, reports and penalties for practices common across all sectors of society – the legitimate marketing of goods and services. This regulatory initiatives is excessive, and should be rejected.

As we have stated repeatedly, a patient can not receive prescription medication without a physician writing the script. The pharmaceutical industry has developed a set of voluntary guidelines to ensure that exchanges of information with providers are for educational purposes and not for the personal benefit of a physician. Likewise, the HHS Office of Inspector General has issued marketing guidelines to ensure that reciprocal arrangements are prohibited between manufacturers and health professionals.

We have seen no data to support the proponent's assertion that doctor prescribing patterns are altered from lower-cost drug options and generics. In New York State, generic drugs are widely used and virtually every Medicaid patient receives generic drugs when available. Nationally, over half of all prescriptions are generic medicines. This would seem to contradict the “undue influence” charge leveled at the industry.

Pharmaceutical products and technological innovation play important roles in the advancement of medicine in the United States, leading to improvements in public health and extended lives for our citizens. The pharmaceutical industry has a critical role in educating providers about the benefits and dangers of utilizing medical advancements – a collaboration that brings enormous benefits to patients, whether they suffer a sudden onset of illness or a chronic or debilitating condition.

We believe this legislation will impair effective communication between the pharma industry and doctors. For these reasons, The Business Council oppose this legislation.