The House adopts much of the Senate’s bill…including annual hearings on what’s driving rising medical and insurance costs, uniform codes for insurance billing and a "Medical Home" pilot project focused on patients with chronic diseases. There is a loan repayment program for primary care doctors and grant money to help physicians set up electronic health records(EHRs) (Representative Patricia Walrath says the House would allocate 15 million while the Senate set aside 25 million. There is 25 mil in the budget, and it's not clear how the House would spend the 10 mil balance). EHRs would be required for hospital, community health center and physician licensing as of 2015. Walrath worked with a small group of colleagues on a key difference. The House would not ban gifts from pharmaceutical sales reps to docs…but instead requires that companies…
Either set up their own code of conduct or accept Pharm’s code of conduct. There was a great deal of discussion on the issue and this was, I won’t say consensus of the group, but this is what came out.
Walrath says she hopes the House moves closer to the Senate on the gift ban question during House/Senate negotiations on the bill.
Health Care for All's Lisa Kaplan Howe says voluntary rules about what drug manufacturers can and can not do to influence prescribing don't work.
The pharmaceutical industry has been left for years to set their own codes of conduct and to self police, and during that time gift giving has increased significantly.
The house does a establish a sort of counter marketing program for doctors on the benefits of generic as well as brand name drugs. It would also ban data mining...where pharmaceutical reps track physician prescribing patterns. The House is scheduled to vote on the legislation tomorrow. Senate President Therese Murray says she is pleased with the House bill and expects that differences can be resolved easily in conference.
This program aired on July 16, 2008. The audio for this program is not available.