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August 21, 2007 at 5:33 PM

Is Big Pharma money influencing Medicaid decisions?

Should big drug companies be allowed to make payments to doctors who help select products used in Medicaid programs?

This Associated Press story says that a doctor and a pharmacist sitting on Minnesota advisory panel got “big checks” from Big Pharma, although the individuals deny that the money had any effect on their recommendations.

The information, obtained by the AP under a Minnesota law that requires pharmaceutical businesses to report payments to doctors, raises questions about undue influence on how Medicaid’s $28 billion budget is spent. Most of the payments to doctors go unnoticed, as only Vermont and Maine have similar reporting requirements, the story said.

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