Trenton, NJ - On Monday, January 15th tighter rules went into effect regarding transactions between physicians and pharma in New Jersey. The Limitations on and Obligations Associated with Acceptance of Compensation fromPharmaceutical Manufacturers by Prescribers were finalized back in December of 2017 by the state’s Attorney General, and will cap the cumulative payments HCPs can receive from pharma companies at $10,000 annually, among other things. According to Attorney General Christopher S. Porrino,

the intent of the rules is to apply to all prescription medications so as to ensure that patient care is guided by the unbiased, best judgment of the treating prescriber.

While many states have passed legislation regarding tracking and limiting the payments healthcare providers receive from the pharma industry, this is the first on U.S. record to tie compliance with physician licensure. In this instance, rather than threaten manufacturers with fines and legal recourse, these will hold the HCPs accountable.

In addition to the $10,000 limit, the new rules cap pharma-provided meals at $15 per HCP attendee. Originally, the state intended to limit each manufacturer to only provide meals to an individual 4 times in a year, but that language was dropped in the final ruling passed by the Attorney General. 

Why This Matters —

Reform is crucial to addressing the Opioid Epidemic, and other challenges facing the U.S. healthcare system, but all actions have both intended and unintended consequences. Beyond the obvious implications for pharma around their day-to-day policy and procedures for promoting products in New Jersey, these new rules may have substantial impact elsewhere. Commenters expressed concern that the new ruling will do little to curb opioid abuse and instead may hamper pharma companies from funding crucial research in the state. The AG was responsive to these fears and revised the language around “bona fide services” to exclude research activities, but questions still remain. What other unintended consequences for pharma, physicians and patients are still to come? 

About the Author:

Drew Beck has spent his entire career in healthcare — from direct patient care as an EMT in college to countless roles in pharma sales and global marketing for leading life science companies including Eli Lilly & Co. and GlaxoSmithKline. He is currently a leader on the Syneos Health Insights & Innovation team, a group charged with leveraging deep expertise in virtual collaboration, behavioral science, trends-based-innovation, custom research and global marketing insights.