February 1, 2007

Keeping up with state drug marketing laws will be a challenge for companies but should get easier with time as the laws become more uniform, industry experts said at an FDAnews audioconference.

Florida, New Hampshire and South Carolina passed pharmaceutical marketing laws in 2006, joining five other states and Washington, D.C., Keith Korenchuk and Elizabeth Jungman, attorneys with Covington & Burling, said. The states with laws before 2006 were California, Maine, Minnesota, Vermont and West Virginia.

Most of the rules require pharmaceutical companies to report how much they spend on gifts and marketing, and some impose annual gift limits, Korenchuk said. However, he added, each state's rule is different, so companies must create a policy for each state.

In addition, details of laws can change quickly. In West Virginia, for example, the deadline for manufacturers to report an annual collective amount of gifts has moved and is still not settled, Jungman said. Trying to stay on top of the laws is like "tracking a moving target," Korenchuk added.

He recommended that companies track every marketing move they make, and ensure they can justify a reason for doing it. The state laws will "test every assumption" companies have about what is permissible, and companies should "make a decision trail" to justify and explain their decisions.

More information on the audioconference can be seen at www.fdanews.com/wbi/cds/2624-1.html (http://www.fdanews.com/wbi/cds/2624-1.html).