This is Your State – This is Your State on Drugs – an Ongoing Series

One of the considerable elements re-shaping the marketing of pharmaceuticals in the United States has been the outlooks and activities and probable future legislation under advisement by members of Congress.  While the various actions at the federal level have dominated the spotlight, it is also important to look at the patchwork of policy that is happening at the state level.  Today, we look at legislation enacted in 2008 and probably proposed for 2009 that will impact pharmaceutical marketing.  

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, in 2007, there were 105 pharmaceutical-related bills that were signed into law among 41 jurisdictions.  In 2008, among some of the more interesting bills were one in New York that established a prescriber education "counter-detailing" program; and the District of Columbia which enacted legislation that requires pharmaceutical sales representative licensure and recording of gifts to physicians.  

Altogether, 23 states had legislation proposed that was aimed at marketing and advertising of prescription products and 9 had legislation that would bear directly upon the importation of drugs. According to a report by the NCSL, studies demonstrate that the most prescribed drugs are among the most heavily marketed drugs.  As state economies hit the skids, there is going to be increased incentive to change that since, in fact, the newest and most heavily marketed drugs turn out to be the most expensive as well.   While the regulation of direct-to-consumer advertising is in the national purview, states can still affect the market, as seen in West Virginia which enacted legislation that could allow the state to ask pharmaceutical companies to disclose the amounts of money spent on advertising. 

As state budgets tighten, look for increased proposals at the state level that will work to steer prescribers away from newer brand name drugs to generics and even for the possibilities that states may, through resolutions, encourage the federal government to implement an aggressive comparative effectiveness program.
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