In what may be an effort to head off legislation, Zimmer announced new rules covering its relationships with docs, specifically, payments for consulting, gift giving and medical education funding. The move comes not long aftera Senate bill was introduced that would require drug and device makers to disclose anything of value given to docs and several months after Zimmer agreed to pay nearly $170 million to settle kickback charges filed by the federal government.
The refined compliance model is designed to aggressively reduce potential or perceived conflicts of interest inherent in consulting relationships between the industry and healthcare professionals...The model includes fundamental changes in the areas of product development, marketing, surgeon training, educational and charitable funding, and transparency, Zimmer says in a statement.
For instance, there will be new internal firewalls to prevent sales, distribution and other marketing teams from having any involvement with physician consultant agreements, services or payments. And Zimmer is banning all gifts to healthcare professionals, prohibiting Zimmer-sponsored healthcare professional presentations at medical society events, and will eliminate the use of quotations, endorsements, images and product-branding by healthcare professionals, other than scientific literature references. The device maker will also no longer use docs to train and educate on products for which they may receive royalty-based compensation connected to sales of the products.
“We have taken our obligations under these resolution agreements extremely seriously and have now embraced the opportunity to move beyond their requirements to create a more sustainable model for the growth of our business over the long-term,” Dave Dvorak, Zimmer's ceo, says in the statement.
Hat tip to the WSJ Health blog