Pharmaceutical company settles over Vermont disclosure law

John O'Brien Jan. 9, 2007, 9:05pm

MONTPELIER, Vt. - A pharmaceutical company will have to abide by a Vermont disclosure law after settling Monday with Attorney General William Sorrell.

Biogen Idec did not timely file the required financial disclosures to comply with the Vermont Pharmaceutical Marketing Act, a law enacted to disclose the amount of money doctors receive from drug companies to market certain products.

Biogen Idec will have to pay a $10,000 fine to the state if it fails to file by the statutory deadline for any future reporting period.

"With this settlement, pharmaceutical manufacturers are now on notice that the Vermont Attorney General's Office will be vigilant in our enforcement of the marketing disclosure law," Sorrell said.

In August 2005, a consumer group sued Sorrell over the law.

According to the lawsuit, Public Citizens Health Research Group sent Sorrell a request in December 2004 seeking all the pharmaceutical company reports from his office for July 1, 2002-June 30, 2003.

Sorrell provided the records but would not release any information that had been designated as a trade secret.

Public Citizen claimed the withheld information came mostly from many of the largest drug companies.

Sorrell, a former president of the National Association of Attorneys General, reported in June that from July 1, 2004, to June 30, 2005, that drug companies spent $2.17 million in fees, travel expenses and payments to hospitals and universities for the purpose of marketing their products.

"For the third year in a row, our analysis shows that there is a great deal of money being spent in our small state on marketing pharmaceutical products," Sorrell said in June. "Right now we are the only state that has obtained and analyzed these expenditures by pharmaceutical companies. Other states are following our lead and have enacted similar laws, but Vermont's law remains the only one that currently requires pharmaceutical companies to report such expenditures."

Louisiana, Maine, West Virginia, Minnesota and the District of Columbia also have gift disclosure laws.

More News