On November 1, 2016, Mayor Rahm Emanuel of Chicago, Illinois proposed amendments to the city's Management Ordinance to provide licensing, education, and reporting requirements for pharmaceutical representatives. This initiative is one in a series of measures to combat opioid and heroin addiction in the City of Chicago and Cook County. If passed as proposed, no person would be permitted to conduct business as a pharmaceutical representative without first having obtained a pharmaceutical representative license. Pharmaceutical representatives that conduct business in the City of Chicago for fewer than ten days per calendar year would not be required to obtain a license. Prior to obtaining an initial license, pharmaceutical representatives must complete a professional education course as determined by the Commissioner of Public Health ("Commissioner"). The fee for a pharmaceutical representative license would be $1,500.
The proposed amendments would also require the Commissioner to establish by rule continuing education requirements as a condition for an initial or a renewal pharmaceutical representative license. At minimum, all pharmaceutical representatives would be required to complete fifteen (15) hours of continuing professional education prior to renewing their licenses. Additionally, the proposed amendments would require pharmaceutical representatives, upon request or at time intervals prescribed by the Commissioner, to provide the following information to the Commissioner:
- A list of health care professionals contacted and the number of times the health care professional was contacted;
- The location and duration of the contact;
- The pharmaceuticals promoted;
- Whether product samples, materials, or gifts of any value were provided to the health care professional, and the value of the products, materials, or gifts; and
- Whether and how the health care professional was compensated for contact with the pharmaceutical representative.
Further, the proposed amendments would require the Commissioner to establish a list of ethical standards for pharmaceutical representatives and incorporate the list into the rules. In addition to these rules, the proposed amendments would prohibit pharmaceutical representatives from engaging in deceptive or misleading marketing of pharmaceutical products, including the knowing "concealment, suppression, omission, misleading representation, or misstatement of any material fact." Pharmaceutical representatives would also be prohibited from using a title or designation that could lead a licensed health professional to believe that the pharmaceutical representative is licensed to practice "medicine, nursing, dentistry, optometry, pharmacy, or other similar health occupation, in [Chicago], unless the pharmaceutical representative currently holds such a license." Pharmaceutical representatives would be further prohibited from attending patient examinations without the consent of the patient.
The proposed amendments define a "health care professional" to be "any physician or other health care practitioner licensed to provide health care services or to prescribe pharmaceutical or biologic products." The term "pharmaceutical representative" is "a person who markets or promotes pharmaceuticals to health care professionals."