This story was published by NPR.
A Medicaid committee in Texas is requiring those who comment at its meetings to disclose more details about their ties to pharmaceutical companies following a Center for Public Integrity and NPR investigation into the drug industry’s influence on such boards.
The Lone Star state is one of the latest to respond to the findings of the Medicaid, Under the Influence project. Already, officials in Arizona, Colorado and New York have taken action.
The Texas committee, which helps decide which medicines are best for patients and should therefore be preferred by Medicaid, will now ask speakers to disclose verbally and in writing if they have “directly or indirectly received payments or gifts” from any pharmaceutical companies and to identify those firms, Texas Health and Human Services Commission spokeswoman Kelli Weldon said in an email.
The board made the changes in response to the July investigation that detailed, among other things, how doctors who came before the Texas committee praised drugs without acknowledging their financial ties to the drugmakers that market them. One physician did not disclose more than $181,000 he had been paid to speak about certain drugs that he then recommended to the committee.
The Texas board also revised its bylaws to require its members to abstain from votes that present possible conflicts of interest, complete training on state transparency laws and regularly sign an acknowledgment of the agency’s ethics policy. The agency was already working on those additional measures when the investigation was published, Weldon said.