April 28,2009

Grassley comments on Institute of Medicine report about conflict of interest in medical research, education and practice


TO: Reporters and Editors
FR: Jill Kozeny, 202-224-1308 for U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa
RE: Institute of Medicine report on Conflict of Interest in Medical Research, Education, and Practice
DA: April 28, 2009

Senator Chuck Grassley commented on the report released today by the Institute of
Medicine regarding “Conflict of Interest in Medical Research, Education, and Practice.”

Senator Grassley’s comment:

“It’s a shot in the arm to the reform movement to have the prestige and policy heft of the
Institute of Medicine on the side of transparency. The more disclosure, the better, for holding
the system accountable and building public confidence in medical research and practice.”

Senator Grassley is the sponsor of legislation, along with Senator Herb Kohl of
Wisconsin, which would require makers of pharmaceuticals, medical devices and biologics to
publicly report money they give to doctors over $100 a year. Their Physician Payments
Sunshine Act of 2009, S.301, would establish a nationwide standard requiring drug, device and
biologic makers to report payments to doctors to the Department of Health and Human Services
and for those payments to be posted online in a user friendly way for public consumption. It
would establish penalties as high as $1 million for knowingly failing to report the information.

The proposal incorporates many recommendations of the Medicare Payment Advisory
Commission, an independent congressional agency which advises Congress on issues affecting
the Medicare program. The bill marks a continued effort by Senators Grassley and Kohl to
achieve public disclosure of financial relationships between physicians and the drug, device and
biologic industry. The pending legislation is along the lines of S.2029, a bill they introduced two
years ago, which the 110th Congress never considered.

Senator Grassley has conducted extensive oversight and revealed large sums of
unreported money going to leading research doctors. He’s put pressure on the National Institutes
of Health to help achieve disclosure by fully exercising its authority to track financial
relationships between the drug and device industry and doctors conducting federally sponsored
medical research. Senator Grassley said the movement during the last year toward greater
tracking of financial relationships by individual drug companies, professional associations and
medical centers shows that the reform movement is gaining traction.

Senator Grassley also has examined financial ties that members of advisory boards for
the Food and Drug Administration have with the drug industry, and he issued a report two years
ago on industry support for continuing medical education.