D.C. Council: Get Your Priorities Straight

By January 9, 2008Health Care, Innovation

The D.C. City Council voted 7-6 vote on Tuesday to license pharmaceutical company sales representatives, making it the first city in the country to regulate drug sales reps.

So a city with 181 killings in 2007 — an increase of 7 percent over the previous year — where the government financial scandals come fast and furious, is going to establish and operate a new regulatory regime. Forgive us if we lack confidence in D.C. ability’s to carry out this oversight.

[Opponents] worried about the precedent such regulation would set for other sales positions, as well as the effects of promising to police an industry better than the federal government can.

“Over-regulation, misguided regulation, bad regulation affects everybody,” said Councilwoman Muriel Bowser, D- Ward 4, who voted against the bill. “I know it won’t do what it claims to do.”

Correct. More costs, redundant government and no obvious benefits. Lots of potential for shakedowns and corruption, though.

Another bit of silliness: The bill, called SafeRx, requires drug reps to have a bachelor’s degree. Why not specify the course of study, too? No art history majors need apply.

UPDATE (1:10 p.m.) PhRMA comment, from Washington Post story:

“The bill was significantly revised, but it does absolutely nothing to benefit patients,” Ken Johnson, senior vice president of Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, said in a statement released after the vote. “It is still legislation looking for a reason to exist. The fact is the licensing of sales representatives is not needed.”

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