Lawyers, Drugs and Ad Money

West Virginia's Pharmaceutical Cost Management Council unanimously approved "a financial disclosure form that would require pharmaceutical companies to reveal how much they spend on advertising and promotion of brand-name drugs" in the state, as well as any "gifts, grants or payments to physicians" in excess of $25. A legislative rules committee considers the form and related rule changes next, though they will likely "be challenged in court by the pharmaceutical industry." An attorney with the industry group Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) said the proposal "is much more extreme, we think, than is authorized by statute." To back up its critique, PhRMA presented "a four-page analysis from the Washington law firm Covington and Burling." A PhRMA state lobbyist also argued that such information should be "used internally by the council ... and not be accessible, say, to attorneys doing litigation against a company." West Virginia's AARP supports the measure.