Blumenthal: Drug companies 'addicted to profits'

Nick Rees Mar. 1, 2010, 12:54pm


HARTFORD, Conn. (Legal Newsline) - Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal has called for legislation to require limitations on and disclosure of gifts to doctors from pharmaceutical drug companies.

An estimated $23 billion is spent annually by pharmaceutical drug companies on marketing prescription drugs, with $7 billion spent on "direct-to-physicians" marketing, Blumenthal says.

"This proposal recognizes that health care providers and pharmaceutical companies should interact and exchange ideas and experiences - but in the sunshine of transparency and disclosure," Blumenthal said.

"Addicted to profits, pharmaceutical drug companies focus relentlessly on practitioners, seeking enhanced sales and profits."

Blumenthal's proposed legislation would require pharmaceutical and medical device companies to adopt a code of conduct that would include training and monitoring to ensure compliance.

The companies would also be required to report all authorized payments or other economic benefits provided to health care providers that individually exceed $50. Direct payments or other compensation to health care providers by pharmaceutical companies would be prohibited unless in exchange for a bona fide service.

"While certain pharmaceutical drug companies may be taking steps toward self-reform, we cannot rely solely on such efforts to break an industry attraction - some might say addiction - to such practices," Blumenthal said.

"A state law readily enforceable by our state agencies would protect the physician-patient relationship from drug company influence."

Blumenthal is running for U.S. Senate.

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