NEWS21 May 2010

‘Final impediment’ to pharma surveys lifted in Minnesota

Government North America

US— The “final impediment” to the re-emergence of pharmaceutical market research in Minnesota has been removed, according to research associations Casro, PMRG and MRA.

In a statement this week, the trio say comments from the state board of pharmacy make clear that survey incentives paid to doctors will not be subject to rules requiring disclosure of payments made by drug companies or medical device manufacturers to physicians.

Companies are banned from giving ‘gifts’ to healthcare practitioners in Minnesota though certain exemptions apply, such as payments made to doctors who act as consultants on research projects – though such payments need to be reported annually.

Casro, PMRG and MRA sought clarification from the pharmacy board on where market research stood in relation to the rules. According to Cody Wiberg, executive director of the pharmacy board, drugs companies do not have any reporting obligations if payments are made to market research companies and the research is done in a ‘blinded’ fashion – that is, “with the research company selecting the participants and the manufacturer never knowing which practitioners participated”.

This is in line with rules laid out in the federal healthcare reform act.

Earlier this year, the Minnesota Board of Pharmacy amended its explanation of state law to confirm that payments to healthcare professionals for taking part in bona fide market research are legal.

Prior to these clarifications, pharmaceutical market research was “effectively shut down” in the state, according to the research associations.