Pharma MR gains hold in frosty Minnesota

Share this article:
The Minnesota pharmacy board maintained that it's legal to pay doctors to answer bona fide marketing surveys, but legislation being debated may keep the state a marketing research “dead zone,” said one lobbyist.

Recently, the Minnesota Board of Pharmacy, which collects physician gift data under a 1993 state law, clarified that it does not consider payments to physicians illegal, as long as the payment compensates the doctor “in connection with a genuine research project.” Pharmaceutical companies must still file an annual report with the board concerning such payments.

The clarification, added in an FAQ on the board's website last month, reflects its long-standing position, Cody Wiberg, the pharmacy board's executive director, told MM&M. “Even under the old FAQs, those sorts of payments were allowed. It's just that people out there were misinterpreting this FAQ, perhaps because of the way we wrote it.”

Legitimate surveys, Wiberg explained, involve those which manufacturers hire a marketing-research company to carry out. Such studies, in most instances, are blinded—the physician never knows which company is the sponsor, and payments come through a vendor, not manufacturer.

“It's a good step,” said Howard Fienberg, director of government affairs for the Marketing Research Association (MRA), one of several who lobbied for the clarification. The board had not meant to dissuade industry from conducting legitimate marketing research, he said. “The difficulty is that existing [Minnesota] law is very vague and badly written.”

The problem stems from Minnesota's 1993 statute banning physician gifts over $50. To some, the board had seemed to take a skeptical view of the practice of paying physicians to garner their participation in marketing-research surveys; an earlier FAQ characterizes such payments as “inappropriate.”
Share this article:
You must be a registered member of MMM to post a comment.
close

Next Article in Features

Email Newsletters

MM&M EBOOK: PATIENT ACCESS

Patient access to pharmaceuticals is a tale of two worlds—affordability has improved for the majority, while the minority is hampered by cost, distribution and red tape. To provide marketers with a well-rounded perspective, MM&M presents this e-book chock full of key insights. Click here to access it.

More in Features

Read the complete October 2014 Digital Edition

Read the complete October 2014 Digital Edition

Click the above link to access the complete Digital Edition of the October 2014 issue of MM&M, with all text, charts and pictures.

Predicting your pink slip

Predicting your pink slip

Any time a firm needs to save money, high-salaried executives are targets

Private View: New ways to engage with customers

Private View: New ways to engage with customers

These healthcare social media campaigns successfully use emotion, altruism and the human desire to "brand" oneself to get customers engaged.