About a decade ago, legislature was passed that became a compliance barrier for many researchers and research companies wanting to visit Washington, D.C. and Baltimore, Maryland. Last year, the barrier was finally lifted. This is terrific news for everyone in the research industry, especially since Baltimore and Washington are home to some of this country’s leading hospitals and health care systems.
More about the legislature: After Washington, D.C’s AccessRx Act of 2004 passed, many health care researchers were suddenly put in a precarious situation. A stipulation in the act stated that pharmaceutical manufacturers and labelers had to disclose their marketing costs and do so in a sea of paperwork. Under the umbrella of marketing costs was money spent on market research.
This meant that researchers looking to talk to medical professionals (or their clients) would have to fill out a myriad of documentation in order to be able to provide these respondents with any incentives at all. Rather than deal with the extra paperwork, many health care researchers that worked in D.C. opted out of participating in medical market research.
Although this act was focused in D.C., research companies in Maryland also felt its impact. Many clients would often be afraid of recruiting in Baltimore because of the close proximity of Washington, D.C. They just did not want to deal with any mishaps along the way.
This law changed a little over a year ago in July, 2012 when an amendment was made to the AccessRx Act that eased the regulations on market research. As long as three criteria were met, health care professionals could once again freely participate in market research. The amendment states in subsection 1801.3 that:
Beginning with the July 2012 filing, for the 2011 reporting period, payments made to health care practitioners for participation in market research shall not be subject to the reporting requirements of the Act and this Chapter if the following conditions are met:
a) The market research is conducted by an independent survey research organization;
b) The pharmaceutical client does not know the identity of the practitioners who participate in the research; and
c) The payments are determined and made directly by the survey research organization.
This amendment helps not only health care researchers and professionals by eliminating the headache of extra paperwork, but also patients who benefit from the insights gained in the focus groups, in-depth interviews, and ethnographies. Market research facilities, such as Observation Baltimore, operate under all of the aforementioned conditions, so health care research is once again alive in the Greater DC/Metro Area. Anybody we recruit will be allowed to get paid for their opinions and continue to improve the health care system – without additional paperwork or compliance department interception.
We would like to extend a special thanks to Rick Seale at Shugoll Research as well as the Council of American Survey Research Organizations for making this amendment possible. Their hard work has directly improved health care market research.
To view the amendment in its entirety, click here.