Disclosure May Derail Doctors' Gravy Train

Medicines Australia, the drug industry's peak lobby group, has lost a legal bid to protect member companies from being required to disclose details of hospitality they provide at "educational" events for doctors. In July 2006 the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), the corporate regulator, approved the industry's self-regulatory code of conduct but added a provision that every six-months member companies must disclose the details of each event for doctors and post the information to a website. The Australian Competition Tribunal rejected Medicines Australia's appeal against the provision. Dr. Ian Haines, who gave evidence in the case in support of the ACCC, welcomed the decision as "a very good first step to dismantle this whole gravy train." But he is critical that the doctors who receive the drug industry's gifts won't be identified. "Every doctor should be named on the website, and everything they accept," he said.