Senate pushes national gift registry

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At a Senate committee hearing, panelists said drug firms should disclose payments including funding for education, physician travel and food.

The Senate Special Committee on Aging, led by Herb Kohl (D-WI), held the hearing in June to examine physician links with the pharma industry. A national gift registry was discussed, along with stronger adherence to the voluntary American Medical Association and PhRMA gift codes.

“[Sen. Kohl] would like to…bring public disclosure and transparency to the process,” Ashley Glacel, press officer for the senator, told MM&M. “If…these gifts are purely for educational purposes…then of course those industries should not have any hesitancy to have those out in the public domain.”

It was the second time this year that the Senate examined the independence of industry-sponsored CME. In April a Senate Finance Committee report found that the ACCME does not monitor courses or materials for accuracy or evidence of bias (MM&M June 2007).

Presenters can discuss off-label uses for drugs, something that Sens. Max Baucus (D-MT) and Charles Grassley (R-IA), the ranking committee members, worried could be used by a company to expand the market for its product. 

PhRMA and AMA criticized the idea of expanding gift disclosure laws nationally.

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