Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey on Friday added new financial disclosure rules for a state pharmaceutical committee after it was revealed a member took hundreds of thousands of dollars from drug companies.
Ducey’s office said Dr. Mohamed Ramadan was removed from the Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee after news reports showed he earned more than $700,000 from drug companies since 2013.
Ducey signed an executive order requiring members’ financial disclosure forms to be posted online and other transparency measures.
Decisions about health care should be made objectively and without the appearance of undue influence, Ducey said in a statement. “Today’s executive order will increase transparency by shedding a light on potential conflicts of interest and eliminating improper influence by special interests and drug companies.”
Ducey’s office says it is referring the matter to law enforcement.
The committee is responsible for recommending what pharmaceuticals are covered by the state’s Medicaid program, which is called the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System.
Ramadan is a psychiatrist and medical director in Bullhead City who joined the volunteer committee in 2016. The Arizona Republic reported that an investigation by the Center for Public Integrity and NPR showed Ramadan took more from drug companies than any other pharmaceutical board member in the country.
The compensation included speaking fees, travel and meals.
A message for Ramadan at his office wasn’t immediately returned. He told the Arizona Republic that the compensation does not influence his decisions as a committee member and physician.
“Our role is to evaluate the scientific evidence of the safety, efficacy, effectiveness and clinical appropriateness of prescription drugs,” Ramadan said in a written statement. “We do this in an unbiased manner, focusing on the best clinical evidence and cost effectiveness.”
In addition to posting financial disclosure forms, Ducey’s executive order will require anyone who testifies before the committee to disclose whether they represent a pharmaceutical or medical device company. Committee members will have annual conflict-of-interest training.
The AHCCCS is now required to set a threshold for how much compensation from drug companies a committee member can take before being disqualified from serving.