A real reform

Cowboy hat By Jim Hightower - Wed., 4/25/12
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What if drug marketers had to tell us the details of every under-the-table payment (aka bribes) that they make to doctors? Well, here's good news: One of the pluses in Obama's healthcare reform law, is that they will have to do just that, perhaps as soon as next year. Republican Sen. Charles Grassley added it to ObamaCare, requiring all drug companies to publish on a publicly accessible website (as yet unnamed) every payment that they make to doctors--including the name of recipients and the amount and exact reason for each "gift." Moreover, this reform has teeth. Federal officials will audit corporate records to assure complete disclosure. Failure to list a payment will result in a $10,000 fine for each deletion ($100,000 for knowingly hiding a payment), and top executives can be liable for omissions, since they must swear to the accuracy of each report.

Of course, industry lobbyists screeched: "Doctors may no longer want to engage in consulting arrangements," wailed one, "and such reluctance could chill innovation." Bullstuff. If such "arrangements" are above board, no sweat. The only thing that this breakthrough will chill is corruption. About time, too.



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