No such thing as a free lunch…or pen in NY

Word on Health notes that the demonization of the pharmaceutical industry is alive and well in the Empire State.  Earlier this week, New York Governor, David Paterson announced that he wants to introduce even more prohibitions on the beleaguered industry.

The Paterson administration says that it’s important to prevent companies from influencing the prescribing habits of doctors and for New Yorkers to know they are being given medications for the right reasons.

Paterson’s plan, like those already enacted by nine other states, would bring most of the voluntary PhRMA guidelines into law. Under his proposal, pharmaceutical companies that violate the law would be fined $15,000-$250,000 per violation, while health care professionals would be fined $5,000-$10,000 per violation.

The NY state Department of Health would be responsible for enforcement, but would rely on complaints to identify violators.

Jan Faiks, Vice President of PhRMA argues that Paterson’s proposal is unnecessary because the industry already has a code of conduct and the FDA already regulates marketing practices.

While we acknowledge that there are two sides to every argument, Word on Health is concerned that further restrictions will only serve to limit the relationship between clinicians and the industry, hinder dialogue about new treatments and ultimately have a detrimental effect on patient care.

We’re also not sure how the pharma influence that he considers so heinous is any worse than the political fundraising, lobbying and spending being undertaken by himself and his opponents in order to win votes in the upcoming NY gubernatorial elections.

Just saying…