Senator Charles Grassley says Congress should consider new reporting requirements for pharmaceutical companies, to curb potential abuse of gifts to doctors. Grassley says he’d like to know more about the perks drug companies provide physicians.
"If those doctors have a conflict of interest because they’re getting some sort of either actually outright payments or being lobbied or maybe being lobbied or entertained by pharmaceutical companies, it seems to me that we ought to have a right to know that," Grassley says. Grassley, who is a Republican, says the state of Vermont has a law which requires such reporting, a drug-makers reported giving more than two million dollars in cash, checks, and food to doctors and other prescribers in Vermont last year.
Grassley says it’s time for a national law like Vermont’s. "So that we can make a determination of whether or not doctors are prescribing according to the needs of the patient, or whether or not they’re prescribing according to what pharmaceutical companies are pushing," Grassley says. "Transparency is kind of the name of the game."
Grassley and his colleagues have been reviewing ties between doctors and the drug industry. Grassley sits on the Senate committee which drafted the prescription drug benefit for the nation’s Medicare recipients.