Doc disclosure gets boost from AZ, Merck

Drugmakers are climbing on the disclosure bandwagon. AstraZeneca and Merck have come out in favor of a bill requiring pharma and device-makers to report their payments to doctors, joining Eli Lilly, which gave the legislation a thumbs-up last week. Trade associations PhRMA (drugs) and Advamed (devices) have also expressed support.

The outpouring of support began after the bill's sponsors--Sen. Chuck Grassley and Sen. Herb Kohl--bumped up the minimum disclosure amount to $500 from $25. It also helped that they added language specifically preempting state disclosure rules--now in force in Vermont and Minnesota, and on the drawing board elsewhere.

Interestingly, Schering-Plough isn't among those backing the bill. In fact, the company expressly denied its support in a letter to the sponsors. The reason? That information might undermine the relationship between patients and doctors, the company says. We'll see if it changes its tune: The letter said execs "remain open to new information or points of view."

- check out the release from the Senate Special Committee on Aging
- read the item at the WSJ Health Blog
- see Pharmalot's take