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Ohio Moves to Make Drug Companies Report Payments to Doctors

Health care professionals in Ohio have received more than $13 million in payments from eight drug companies since 2009, according to our database. Now, a bill could require all companies to report these payments directly to the state.

A proposed law in Ohio would require pharmaceutical companies to report their gifts and payments to doctors, reports MedCity News. (We came across it through Pharmalot’s Ed Silverman.)

The bill [PDF] would require drug companies to disclose annually to the state any “gift, fee, payment, subsidy, or other economic benefit” to licensed health care professionals, health care facilities, pharmacists, or health benefit plan administrators. It does not apply to makers of medical devices, which also make payments to doctors.

According to the text of the bill, drug samples and payments less than $25 in value are exempt from disclosure, as are some scholarships for conferences and payments of “reasonable compensation” in connection with certain clinical trials.

Health care professionals in Ohio have taken home more than $13 million in payments from eight drug companies since 2009, according to our Dollars for Docs database, which compiles data from companies that currently disclose payments. (Most have been required to make these disclosures as part of legal settlements with the federal government.)

As we’ve noted, a provision in the health care law passed by Congress last year will compel all drug companies to publicly disclose their payments beginning in 2013, but most pharmaceutical companies’ payments currently remain secret.

The Ohio State Medical Association, a trade group for the state’s doctors, told MedCity News that it hasn’t yet taken a position on the legislation, but “supports transparency in this area as long as the responsibility for providing this transparency falls on the pharmaceutical industry,” and not on doctors.

If Ohio does pass the legislation, it’ll join Vermont, Massachusetts and Minnesota, which already require disclosure of industry payments to doctors.

But requiring disclosure is one thing and ensuring those disclosures are accurate is another: As we discovered when examining Minnesota’s records, some drug companies had reported inaccurate information to the state, where the law requiring disclosure didn’t provide resources to audit their accuracy.

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