Iowa state Senate passes harsh gifts and Rx data ban

Iowa's state Senate passed a healthcare bill containing some of the toughest restrictions on drug company contacts with physicians yet.

Senate File 389, which passed by a vote of 30-18 in March, must still pass through the state's House of Representatives and be signed into law by the governor.

The bill would establish an “insurance exchange” and expand public health insurance for children. 

This bill would also establish an “evidence-based drug education program,” require that companies report all payments to physicians and helathcare professionals for continuing education and clinical research and ban on all other gifts and compensation, along with the provision of prescribing data for commercial purposes.

Manufacturers, wholesalers and agents acting on their behalf would be prohibited from offering any gift to healthcare practitioners under the bill, with exception to: payments to sponsors of “significant educational, scientific or policy-making conference or seminar,” provided the payment is not made directly to a practitioner; “Reasonable honoraria and payment of the reasonable expenses” of faculty at such conferences or seminars “pursuant to an explicit contract with specific deliverables which are restricted to scientific issues, not marketing efforts”; and compensation for “bona fide clinical trials.”

The bill requires manufacturers to disclose to the state's department of administrative services an annual report on all gifts or payments covered under the exemptions to the prohibition.

The disclosure of individual identifying information for the marketing of prescribed products would be banned, and violators could be fined up to $50,000.

The Iowa law is, in some respects, even harsher than the Massachusetts bill passed earlier in March, which includes prohibitions on most gifts and meals for healthcare practitioners from drug and device companies, tough reporting requirements and an “opt out” provision allowing prescribers to withhold their prescribing data from commercial use. Similar laws are pending in a number of states. 
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