In my posting of November 9, I outlined some of the changes to the state legislatures that occurred as a result of the election. As some races have been finalized, it is not a bad idea to re-visit the topic and to gain additional perspective on what the seismic shift at the state level means for pharmaceutical marketing and policy.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, following a recount in Montana, the stats on states are these – Democrats now control both houses in 23 states, up from 19 prior to the election while Republicans hold both houses in 15, down from 20 pre-election, with 11 states splitting their houses between both parties. It is noteworthy that in many states, the matter of control was left to a single seat. For example, also in Montana, a state senator switched parties after the election from Republican to Democrat, giving Democrats the edge in the Senate, while a recount involving a single seat gave Republicans the House.
While generalizations are often faulty, it is safe to identify the Democratic side as generally more involved in consumer activism than their Republican counterparts. There are 323 new Democrats sitting in state seats. In addition, the signal sent by voters could be interpreted as a mandate for change among states. What does that mean?
A number of states last year began individual efforts at some of the issues taking the lead on the national stage when it comes to pharmaceutical marketing practices. Some states began legislating the role of the sales force while others began to shield physicians from marketing tactics in other ways.
While many eyes are focused on the national front, look for some groundswell issues at the state level, particularly in key states such as California, New York, Illinois, Florida and Pennsylvania that could signal a new tide of marketing reforms at the state level that could dwarf in impact the issues at center stage in Washington.
Eye on FDA will periodically report on developments at the state level.