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NV Drug Prescription Bill: Disclosing Gifts to Doctors

March 12, 2007

Nevada lawmakers will be taking up bills today aimed at ratcheting down the high cost of prescription drugs. One measure would require drug companies to report payments and gifts they give to Nevada doctors. Assemblyman Marcus Conklin, sponsor of the bill, says consumers want relief at the checkout counter, and this is one way of getting there.

"We've all heard stories of fancy cruises and fancy dinners and stuff, that all goes into the cost of drugs. So, I don't see any reason why pharmaceutical companies shouldn't have to report that type of activity."

The measure may be easier to pass this time around, because Conklin says his bill simply adopts the pharmacy industry's own voluntary ceiling of reporting gifts of $100 or more, or any series of gifts that reach $1,000 for one doctor in a year.

"At this stage the only penalty in our bill is if you don't report. If you do report, even if you do exceed that guideline, we don't have a penalty on it. We simply want to know that's the activity that's taking place."

Pharmaceutical companies oppose the "detailing" bill because they say it will be expensive to track the gifts, but Conklin says those records are already kept for tax purposes.

There may be help for those of you who take multiple medications. Lawmakers today are taking up another related measure that would put more information about prescription drugs and the condition they're for on the label. However, the AARP's Deborah Moore says consumers will still have the option.

"It's voluntary because some people in other states where this bill is passed, were concerned quite frankly about their privacy, and they didn't want their condition on their pill bottle, so there's a choice.

The labeling bill is AB 235.

Michael Clifford/Eric Mack, Public News Service - NV