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Health Agencies Update
June 23 2010

VA Restricts Sales Pitches

JAMA. 2010;303(24):2464. doi:10.1001/jama.2010.836

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has created a new rule to limit the marketing of pharmaceutical products at VA facilities.

The proposed rule requires pharmaceutical company sales representatives to schedule visits to the facility in advance and bars them from patient areas (http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2010/pdf/2010-10629.pdf). It also requires the chief of pharmacy of each VA facility to review and approve any educational materials from the companies before the materials are presented to staff to ensure that the materials “focus on clinician education as opposed to marketing of drugs and drug-related supplies,” and it stipulates that any samples be provided only to the pharmacy for distribution. In addition, the rule would bar representatives from providing food or other gifts to staff beyond the minimal values allowed for government employees. Sales representatives who fail to comply with the new rules may be refused access to the facilities.