DC to vote on rep-licensing bill

Let's see your license. That's what Washington, DC docs might be saying to pharma reps next year if the district council approves a measure regulating drug makers' sales people tomorrow. The SafeRx Act is a hot topic in Big Pharma land, of course; if D.C. requires reps to be licensed, states might follow suit. And the measure also wouldn't let pharma companies use doctors' prescription data for marketing purposes without the doctors' knowledge.

Council member David Catania, who introduced the potential rules, says pharma reps can mislead physicians and patients into buying costly new drugs rather than cheaper brand names or even cheaper generics; sometimes, he says, they even pretend to be medical professionals when they're not. Other professions are licensed, he argues: "If it is good enough for cosmetologists, it ought to be good enough for the pharmaceutical company."

Drug makers aren't keen on the plan, of course. They say the rules would overlap with federal law, and are therefore unnecessary. Meanwhile, they're already suing the states of New Hampshire, Maine, and Vermont over rules against the sort of doctor-oriented data-mining the DC measure would regulate.

- take a look at this article from the Washington Post

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