MANAGED CARE March 2002. ©MediMedia USA
The American Medical Association and the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America are fine with the AMA's policy restricting physicians from receiving gifts from pharmaceutical sales representatives — they just want to see it better implemented. A source told the Wall Street Journal that drug company executives "want their employees to adhere to the [AMA's] ethics guidelines" while AMA officials recognize "that doctors must not demand to be courted" in unethical ways.... Some state Medicaid programs are finding that generic drugs can cost more than brand-name pharmaceuticals. The Wall Street Journal reports that the strange twist stems from a 1990 federal law that requires drug companies to discount brand-name drugs deeper than generic drugs must be.... The nation's largest pharmacy benefit manager is scheduled to be put up for sale this summer. Merck plans to sell part of Merck-Medco for between $6 billion and $15 billion. The PBM generates half of Merck's sales, but just a small fraction of its profits.... If companies build a system where employees can enroll for benefits online, people will use it, a Hewitt report says. Where Internet enrollment was offered last year, 70 percent of employees did so online — up from 36 percent in 1999.