Monday January 28, 2013 | 04:01 PM

WASHINGTON – A Maine state lawmaker active on federal health care issues is urging the Obama administration to implement rules providing additional “sunshine” on the relationships between doctors and drug companies.

Rep. Sharon Treat, D-Hallowell, wrote a letter to the White House as executive director of the National Legislative Association on Prescription Drug Prices, a nonpartisan group of state lawmakers working on drug affordability and accessibility issues.

The Affordable Care Act – or Obamacare – included new disclosure requirements for doctors who receive payments or other gifts from pharmaceutical makers or manufacturers of medical supplies. The rules are intended to discourage too-cozy relationships between physicians and drug companies that could lead to over-prescribing of certain drugs or name-brand prescriptions.

But the federal government is already 15 months behind schedule in drafting and implementing the new rules, Treat wrote. In the meantime, some states have delayed action on their own versions of the doctor-drug company “Sunshine Act” because state laws would have been preempted by the federal rules.

“Our state legislative members are beyond discouraged by this delay and can see no legitimate policy justification for it, given the successful implementation of similar rules at the state level over many years,” Treat wrote in her letter to White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough and Jeffrey Zients, acting director of the Office of Management and Budget.

“The administration should implement the act without any further delay so that it can begin, as soon as possible, to rein in the undue and harmful influence of money on medicine,” Treat concluded.

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Kevin Miller is Washington bureau chief for the Portland Press Herald and MaineToday Media. He has worked as a journalist in Maine for 6 ½ years, covering the environment, politics and the State House. Before arriving in Maine, he wrote about politics, government and education for newspapers in Virginia and Maryland.
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