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In the ongoing debate over industry influence in medicine, who should you believe, the critics or the defenders of industry? The answer is easy: the industry defenders. Just listen to what the defenders say when they’re talking among themselves.

For example, listen to Bill Cooney, President & CEO of Medpoint Communications, which is, in its own words, “a global leader in diversified communications services for leading pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies.” Cooney recently answered questions about virtual speaker programs in the “Ask the Experts” section of MedAdNews. Pay close attention to what he says:

MedAdNews: What is the range for return on investment for speaker Webcasts?

Cooney: First, be cautioned that several pharma and biotech companies have discontinued assessing ROI on speaker programs because they do not want to create a link between peer education activities and a “profit motive, ” which they believe may trigger a legal/regulatory risk. Following that same cautious reasoning, my firm refrains from directly connecting speaker programs to ROI, although we work with some pharma and biotech companies who have assessed ROI for their virtual speaker programs….
The bottom line is that, if you can lower costs by two-thirds and maintain effectiveness, ROI is increased by 300%. And lowering the cost of speaker programs is not just good business, but it’s also good in terms of ethical marketing and public perception.

So, Cooney won’t do the math, but if you ask nicely you’ll get the answer: a 300% increase in ROI.

Here’s another interesting paradox. If you thought the Physician Payment Sunshine Act was going to shake things up, think again:

Cooney: …the Physician Payment Sunshine Act (PPSA) has recently become law and goes into effect over the next two years. The PPSA sets reporting requirements at $10 per transaction or $100 annually per physician for “payments of value” which includes meals. One result is that attendees to dinner meetings will have their name and the value of the meal reported on a public website, which may be a disincentive for many HCPs to attend dinner meetings. Virtual meetings that eliminate meals will also eliminate the PPSA reporting requirement.

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25 things for spine surgeons to know about the Sunshine Act  — Becker's Orthopedic & Spine
The proposed Physician Fee Schedule for 2015 includes changes to the Sunshine Act for payments when physicians are speaking at Continuing Medical Education programs, which could have unintended consequences on the medical education landscape.

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  • Blade Length: 2.91
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  • Blade Material/Hardness: 154CM Stainless Steel/ 58-61 HRC
  • Blade Style: Modified Drop-Point ; Ambidextrous Thumb-studs
  • Lock Mechanism: AXIS Lock
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