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Notice of Public Hearing on Advisability of Requiring Disclosure of Free Samples

CONTACT: Wendy Morgan, Assistant Attorney General, (802) 828-5479

Notice of Public Hearing on Advisability of Requiring Disclosure of Free Samples of Prescribed Products given to Vermont Health Care Providers

Date of hearing: October 27, 2009 -- 9:30am to 11:30am
Location: Pavilion Office Building, Third Floor, 109 State St., Montpelier VT
Sponsored by the Vermont Attorney General and the Commission on Health Care Reform

The Vermont Legislature, in Act 59, charged the Attorney General to “conduct a review, in consultation with the commission on health care reform, of the advisability of modifying section 4632 of Title 18 to require the disclosure of information about the provision of samples to health care providers by manufacturers of prescribed products.” The report of the Attorney General’s findings is due to the House Committee on Health Care and the Senate Committees on Finance and on Health and Welfare no later than December 15, 2009.

Interested persons are encouraged to participate in the public hearing noticed above. Those wishing to testify in person or by phone must send an email to: prescribedproducts@atg.state.vt.us by October 23, 2009. A preliminary witness list with approximate times of testimony will be posted on the Attorney General’s website, www.atg.state.vt.us by October 26. Those who do not sign up in advance will be able to testify if time permits. Those who wish to submit proprietary information on a confidential basis may do so by mailing such information, marked “Confidential,” to: Wendy Morgan, Office of the Attorney General, 109 State St., Montpelier VT 05609, no later than November 6, 2009.

The hearing will be taped and posted on the Attorney General’s website.

The goal of this hearing is twofold: to gather information about the current system of distribution of free samples of pharmaceuticals, biologics and medical devices to Vermont prescribers, and to hear the opinion of those in the health care system as to the advisability of requiring disclosure of free samples to the Attorney General and of making such disclosures available to the public. To that end, we encourage those who testify to address the following questions:

  1. How are free samples distributed to Vermont prescribers now? By office visits or mail? Upon request only, or through scheduled or unscheduled visits?

  2. What records do the manufacturers keep of the distribution of free samples? What records do the recipients keep? If any of those records are reported to a governmental agency, what is reported to which agency on what timeframe?

  3. What is the approximate volume and value of free samples being distributed in Vermont?

  4. Would disclosure of the distribution of free samples have a significant impact on the willingness of providers to accept those samples? Would it make a difference if disclosure were only to the Attorney General, and not to the public?

  5. What is your opinion on whether the distribution of free samples should be disclosed to the Attorney General’s Office? What is your opinion on whether such disclosures should be released to the public?

Questions in advance of the hearing should be directed to: prescribedproducts@atg.state.vt.us.

  Website consulting provided by The National Association of Attorneys General.