Let the sun shine in. A federal proposal requiring drug and device makers to disclose payments to doctors got a boost yesterday when Eli Lilly became the first Big Pharma to back it. Why fess up on gifts, honoraria, travel, and cash payments to physicians? "We believe that being transparent is one way to help re-establish" public confidence in the relationship between doctors and drug makers, according to Dr. Jack Harris, a Lilly VP.
That may be. But the real turning point may have come when lawmakers agreed to raise the threshold for disclosure to $500 from $25--quite a leap--and to apply the rules to all drug and device makers, rather than just companies with more than $100 million in annual sales. Fines were cut, also; now they'd be between $1,000 and $50,000 per violation rather than between $10,000 to $100,000. Plus, the legislation would preempt any state rules on disclosure.