This Business Council of New York State opposes this legislation, which would amend the General Business law to require pharmaceutical manufacturers or medical device manufacturers to report to the Commissioner of Health any gift, regardless of form, to a health care provider in excess of $75.
The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America's (PhRMA) updated “Code on Interactions with Healthcare Professionals for 2009” limits the amount of money manufacturers can spend on meals, promotional items, and speaking engagements for doctors. This coincides with legislation introduced at the federal level by US Senators Grassley and Kohl to limit the influence manufacturers have on physicians. The federal legislation would establish a nationwide standard requiring drug, device and biologic makers to report payments to doctors to the Department of Health and Human Services and for those payments to be posted online in a user friendly way for public consumption. It would establish penalties as high as $1 million for knowingly failing to report the information. The proposal incorporates many of the new recommendations of the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, an independent congressional agency which advises Congress on issues affecting the Medicare program.
The Business Council believes that for any such program to be effective, it would need to be national in scope and governed by one set of national standards to ensure consistency in compliance. Establishing a state-level data collection and enforcement process is counterproductive to effective use of limited state dollars. Additionally, as federal attention has focused on this issue, many manufacturers have clarified their gift policies and adopted practices which clarify the appropriate roles between manufacturers and health care providers. At least one major pharmaceutical manufacturer will be launching in the second half of 2009 its online registry of physician payments.
For these reasons, The Business Council opposes S.3156.