The House-Senate Conference Committee just filed the budget for FY 2012, which starts at midnight tonight (download the 314 page pdf, if you must).
We are grateful that the budget does not make any changes to current state laws restricting pharmaceutical and medical device industry marketing practices. The bill preserves the gift ban and reporting statute, which protects patients from the inherent conflicts of interest when their doctors are lavished with goodies from the drug industry. The bill also preserves the state’s law restricting the use of deceptive “discount coupons,” which the drug industry uses to push their high margin drugs.
There was speculation that these issues were one of the major holdups in getting the budget agreement from both houses.
We’re also pleased that the budget includes $93,000 for the “academic detailing” program. It’s a horrible name for a very good program, which educated physicians and other prescribers with objective information on best practices in the use of generic and brand name drugs. The program has been demonstrated to save money. The appropriation will let the program continue to limp along for 2012.
HCFA and the Massachusetts Prescription Drug Coalition thank the House and Senate leadership for preserving these vital consumer protections. Massachusetts will continue to lead the nation with smart, effective policies that put the public interest ahead of the profit motive in drug and device marketing.