Drug manufacturers who do business in Maine would be to disclose information about any clinical trials they conducted or sponsored since Oct. 15, 2002 if the governor gives his stamp of approval to a new bill awaiting his signature.
Rep. Arthur Lerman (D-Augusta), the bill's sponsor, said that, if signed, the legislation would have significance beyond the state's borders.
The Maine Senate approved the bill 21-14 on June 9, and the state House passed the measure by a 73-72 vote the next day. Gov. John Baldacci has until June 22 to sign the bill, and Joy Leach, his deputy director of communications, said he plans to do so.
"This is a victory for consumers across the country if not the world," Lerman said. "Making it public in Maine makes it public to the world."
Lerman added that the bill, which he said the state attorney general's office advised him was enforceable, would give doctors and their patients a full picture of the benefits and risks of any medicine being prescribed.
Gordon Smith, executive vice president of the Maine Medical Association, said his organization had "monitored" the bill but did not take a position on it. The Washington-based Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America trade group called the bill duplicative since similar information is already being posted on a Web site maintained by the federal government, clinicaltrials.gov, and on one supported by the drug industry, clinicalstudyresults.org.
"Maine, therefore, would be duplicating information that the state and patients can already readily obtain," said PhRMA Senior Vice President Ken Johnson in a statement.
Lerman countered that federal regulations and industry guidelines did not prevent Vioxx and Paxil from being sold despite "early indications of safety problems and deadly risk."