MN panel mulls conflict-of-interest policy

What does Minnesota have that practically no other state does? A law that requires drug companies to report payments to doctors for lectures, consulting, research, and the like. What does Minnesota have that many other states might? A problem with drug makers paying members of state advisory panels that select the meds used by Medicaid patients. A doctor and a pharmacist on the state's eight-member committee each received thousands--more than $350,000 in the doctor's case--from pharmaceuticals firms for lecturing about their products.

Now, it's tough to prove a direct link between the money and the panel members' official decisions. But the state of Minnesota says it will begin screening these committee members for financial ties to the drug industry. Some other states, such as Nevada, bar panel members who have been paid by pharma companies. If the drive for disclosure of drug-doctor ties continues to grow, more states may decide to do the same.

- read the report from the Washington Post

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