Saturday, June 26, 2010

Lawmakers Propose Banning the Mass. Physician Gift Ban

clipped from

A Massachusetts law banning pharma and medical device companies from giving most gifts to doctors went into effect only a year ago. But a proposal from the speaker of the House of Representatives would rescind the ban due to its purported ill effects on the state’s economy, the Boston Herald reports.

The law doesn’t ban all industry-purchased meals, but limits them to a hospital setting. It bans gifts of trinkets such as pens and requires that all payments of $50 or more for things including consulting and speaking be disclosed. Maheras says even inexpensive goodies can influence physicians’ decisions and “set up a relationship of reciprocity.”

Some big institutions — including Johns Hopkins and Harvard-affiliated hospitals — have either restricted or increased disclosure of their doctors’ ties to industry. And companies themselves, including Medtronic, Pfizer, Eli Lilly, Merck and GlaxoSmithKline have also initiated programs to disclose payments over a certain amount to physicians.

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