Conflict-of-interest drug policies wanting

Feb. 11, 2013 at 11:55 PM

SAN FRANCISCO, Feb. 11 (UPI) -- Current policies to manage conflicts of interest of members of Medicaid drug selection committees are not transparent and vary widely, U.S. researchers say.

Nicole Yvonne Nguyen and Lisa Bero of the University of California, San Francisco, said it is important to manage conflicts of interest for drug selections or reimbursement to ensure products are selected based on evidence and with minimal bias and to protect against pharmaceutical industry influence.

The researchers said they searched official Medicaid websites and contacted Medicaid staff to identify drug selection committee conflicts-of-interest policies for all states with Medicaid Preferred Drug Lists -- 47 states and the District of Columbia.

"We found high variability in conflicts-of-interest policies, lack of public availability and inconsistent enforcement and management of conflicts of interest among states," the researchers wrote in the study.

A model policy should be publicly accessible, be comprehensive and provide explicit parameters for disclosure, be equally applicable to all committee members, include management strategies beyond disclosure and indicate a responsible party for review of conflicts of interest and enforcement of policies, the researchers said.

The study, published in Internal Medicine, said the most common management strategy was disclosure of conflicts of interest in 67 percent of policies and self-recusal in 52 percent of policies, but only 15 percent of policies banned certain relationships with industry.

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