SOURCE: Cutting Edge Information

Cutting Edge Information

April 12, 2010 09:14 ET

Drug Companies Embrace Proactive Approach to Transparency

Cutting Edge Information Declares Series of New Disclosure Laws Not Yet Over

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC--(Marketwire - April 12, 2010) -  The wave of pharmaceutical transparency laws has not yet crested, according to research from Cutting Edge Information, and drug companies are responding with steps to reveal their compensation to physicians.

Cutting Edge Information's recent study "Pharmaceutical Speaker Programs: Measuring ROI and Communicating Value" (http://www.cuttingedgeinfo.com/pharma-speaker-programs/) finds that states have continued to pursue better transparency guidelines for relationships between drug companies and doctors. Aside from 10 states and the District of Columbia, all of which have passed some form of aggregate spend legislation, another 23 states have also tried to set guidelines on how the drug and device industries can compensate physicians.

"The drug industry has navigated and adapted to transparency challenges since the OIG issued its guidelines in 2003," said Jason Richardson, president of Cutting Edge Information. "The term 'fair-market value' is now used in everyday conversations between medical affairs, marketing, compliance and legal teams."

In this environment, drug companies are taking proactive steps to publish their payments to physicians. Eli Lilly and Merck were the first companies to announce plans to publicize their aggregate spending data. Other companies, including Pfizer and Medtronic, have also followed the trend. Once the wave of large companies publishing aggregate spending has passed, regulatory authorities will look to mid-size and smaller drug and device companies to follow suit.

"It's no longer enough to implement annual caps on aggregate spend," said Elio Evangelista, research manager at Cutting Edge Information. "Companies must be diligent about monitoring the amount that they compensate opinion leaders and other physicians."

These calls for transparency, however, have already affected relationships between life sciences companies and thought leaders. Cutting Edge Information's study "Key Opinion Leaders: Relationship Management and Segmentation Data" (http://www.cuttingedgeinfo.com/kol/) finds that drug companies saw a 26% average drop in the number of thought leader relationships they maintained over a one-year period.

"Some key opinion leaders have been opting out of contracts with life sciences companies because they would rather not be tied to industry payments," Richardson said.

Cutting Edge Information provides research for drug companies to implement best practices to manage the impact of state disclosure and aggregate spend regulations. For more information about Cutting Edge Information's thought leader management and medical affairs research studies, visit http://www.cuttingedgeinfo.com/reports/medical-affairs.php.

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