A proposed Ohio law would require pharmaceutical manufacturers to submit annual reports that list gifts given to physicians who are authorized to prescribe drugs.
The state Senate proposal seems nearly identical to a provision of last year’s health reform law that is scheduled to take effect in 2013.
The federal law also applies to medical device makers in addition to drug companies, unlike the Ohio bill.
Under the Ohio proposal, drugmakers would be required to submit to the state an annual report detailing the value, nature and purpose of any gift provided to a doctor in connection with a drug’s promotion. The law wouldn’t apply to gifts valued at less than $25.
The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Michael Skindell (D-Lakewood) didn’t return two calls, so it’s not clear why Ohio would need a law so similar to the measure contained in the federal health reform package.
The report would be due on Feb. 1 each year. Violators would be subject to a fine of up to $10,000.
The Ohio State Medical Association, the trade group representing the state’s doctors, is still studying the proposal and hasn’t taken a position on it, spokesman Jason Koma said.
“OSMA supports transparency in this area as long as the responsibility for providing this transparency falls on the pharmaceutical industry — not physicians who are already burdened with far too many administrative hassles,” Koma said.
The federal disclosure laws have brought praise from consumer advocates who complain that industry compensation can affect a doctor’s choice of drugs or treatment and that exposing the doctors will dissuade such behavior. Opponents say the provision will unfairly stain legitimate work doctors do for industry.
Vermont implemented a similar law in 2002, and has seen the overall dollar value of gifts to physicians decline in recent years.
A ProPublica investigation of Minnesota, which passed a drug disclosure law in 1993, found that information contained in drugmakers’ reports to the state was often inaccurate.
Massachusetts’ legislature passed a gift ban in 2008. Summer 2010 efforts by Republican lawmakers to repeal the the law, which took effect in July 2009, failed.