My title is a bit hyperbolic, but not by much. This blog post to be filed in the “It’s about time” file. They are planning on extending this regulation to the medical device industry as well. Note that this law is about direct payment to doctors as well as the funding of medical research, which is also corrupted. I’ve touched on some of these topics here, here, here and here. Those, unfortunately, are just a few of the many posts on this type of corruption that has occurred. I’m not sure how to evaluate the penalties, $10,000 for failure to report, $100,000 for knowingly failing, for a total of $1,000,000 per year. Seems in the “slap on the wrist” range in absolute dollar amount, but the negative press may be the larger punishment. It’s something, at least.(For more information about my practice, please click here.)

U.S. to Force Drug Firms to Report Money Paid to Doctors
By ROBERT PEAR

WASHINGTON — To head off medical conflicts of interest, the Obama administration is poised to require drug companies to disclose the payments they make to doctors for research, consulting, speaking, travel and entertainment.

Many researchers have found evidence that such payments can influence doctors’ treatment decisions and contribute to higher costs by encouraging the use of more expensive drugs and medical devices...

Large numbers of doctors receive payments from drug and device companies every year — sometimes into the hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars — in exchange for providing advice and giving lectures. Analyses by The New York Times and others have found that about a quarter of doctors take cash payments from drug or device makers and that nearly two-thirds accept routine gifts of food, including lunch for staff members and dinner for themselves.

The Times has found that doctors who take money from drug makers often practice medicine differently from those who do not and that they are more willing to prescribe drugs in risky and unapproved ways, such as prescribing powerful antipsychotic medicines for children...

Companies will be subject to a penalty up to $10,000 for each payment they fail to report. A company that knowingly fails to report payments will be subject to a penalty up to $100,000 for each violation, up to a total of $1 million a year...

Allan J. Coukell, a pharmacist and consumer advocate at the Pew Charitable Trusts, said: “Patients want to know they are getting treatment based on medical evidence, not a lunch or a financial relationship. They want to know if their doctor has a financial relationship with a pharmaceutical company, but they are often uncomfortable asking the doctor directly.”