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PhRMA thumbs up for Sunshine

PhRMA has given its backing to the Sunshine Act, a new bill that calls for the creation of a system for registering payments made to physicians by pharmaceutical companies.

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) has given its backing to the Sunshine Act, a new bill that calls for the creation of a system for registering payments made to physicians by pharmaceutical companies.

US senators Charles Grassley of Iowa and Herbert Kohl of Wisconsin are sponsoring the revised act, the first of its kind,  which will mean pharma companies to disclose when they pay doctors to perform tasks such as patient care during trials. Firms that breach the terms of the new act could face fines between $10,000 and $100,000.

"We need to go the extra mile to allow others to see what we do so that the public can place greater trust in us and in our medicines and vaccines," said PhRMA president and chairman, and chief executive officer (CEO) of Merck & Co. "This bill will help build a stronger foundation of trust."

PhRMA commended the two senators for their drive to push the Sunshine bill forward for senate approval and told them that it has accepted the provisions laid down in the revised Act. It also recognised that it is important for the industry to maintain a good relationship with physicians who perform contracted duties, such as lectures, on behalf of pharmaceutical companies.

Billy Tauzin, president and chief executive officer of PhRMA, said the agency "believes that appropriate transparency in relationships between pharmaceutical research companies and physicians is an important ingredient and helps build and maintain trust by patients in the healthcare system."

Eli Lilly & Co has already pledged its support for the new bill and said that it represents an important step in increasing the level of public confidence in the pharmaceutical industry.

23rd May 2008

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