The Golden State passed a bill four years ago that made binding PhRMA's marketing guidelines and requires drugmakers to set an upper limit on the dollar value of gifts they could give to a doc in a given year. To prove compliance, drugmakers must provide a plan, choose and abide by annual per-doctor gift limits, and post the info on their web sites declaring they're in compliance.
But in a new report, Calpirg, a consumer advocacy group, claims that the limits are riddled with exceptions, and that some drugmakers have evaded even the least restrictive limits on their marketing. "These requirements took effect on July 1, 2005," writes CalPirg. "Nearly three years later, because of SB 1765, we now have a better sense of the scope of the problem of drug company marketing to doctors – and how it is getting worse." What did they find? Some drugmakers fail to count some meals and other payments as “gifts,” and therefore claim these aren't subject to any limit; some reserve the right to exceed limits if they choose to do so; others assert they are following a limit, but don't disclose what the actual limit, while a few fail even to post their policies at all; and since 2005, five of the biggest drugmakers raised their limits, by an average of $1,100 per doc per year.
“It’s disappointing that the drug industry hasn’t even been able to comply with their own rules,” says Mike Russo, Calpirg's health care advocate, in a statement. “We urge the Attorney General to investigate our findings, and take appropriate action to make sure these companies follow the law."
Hat tip to Pharmagossip