The District of Columbia could become the first jurisdictionwithin the country to require the licensing of pharmaceutical salesrepresentatives, pending the outcome of a bill being voted on in the local DCCouncil.
In December, the Council’s representatives voted 7-6 infavor of the bill in its initial test.
That vote advanced the bill, dubbed the “SafeRx Act” to avote at the council’s next meeting in early January.
If passed, the Safe Rx Act bill sponsored by councilmemberDavid Catania’s (I-At Large) would require the formation of a pharmacy board tocreate a code of ethics for pharmaceutical salespeople and to license them.
Under the bill, DC reps would have to be college grads andwould be prohibited from using titles that could lead doctors to think they arelicensed to practice medicine, pharmacy, nursing or other fields of health.
The bill would also ban pharmaceutical manufacturers fromusing doctors’ prescription data for marketing purposes without the doctors’knowledge.
Passage of the bill could pave the way for other states topass similar legislation, say people on both sides of the debate.
Ken Johnson, PhRMA spokes-man, told The Washington Postthat, “The DC government should not be trying to insert itself into an arenathat is already well-covered nationwide by federal agencies. We should avoidthe confusion of a patchwork quilt of local laws.”
About 3,000 to 4,000 sales representatives work in the DCregion and cast a wide net outside the area, according to PhRMA.
Marjorie Powell, senior assistant general counsel for theassociation, told The Post that Catania’s bill is “a misuse of the District’sresources.”
However Catania contends that because their salaries arebased on commission, pharma sales reps can mislead doctors and patients intobuying the most expensive drugs on the market.
Councilman Marion Barry, a former mayor of Washington DC, isone of the DC councilmembers who opposes the bill.