BOSTON (WWLP) — Currently in Massachusetts, wining and dining doctors to sell them products is a banned practice, but that may soon change.
Lawmakers have approved a measure in the state budget that loosens-up the
gift ban law, which prevents pharmaceutical companies and medical device marketers from taking doctors out to restaurants to sell them their products.
The current law requires marketers to promote their products inside hospitals or a doctor’s office only. Critics say the restrictions are too strict, bad for business, and even limit the free flow of ideas in
Massachusetts. Changes to the law in the state budget would allow marketers to invite doctors to restaurants where they can learn about their products while enjoying “modest meals and refreshments.”
“The gift ban will allow for some spending, as long as there is reporting done on a quarterly basis relevant to the amount of spending, the purpose of spending,” said House Ways and Means Committee Chairman
Brian Dempsey (D-Haverhill).
Health care groups and some physicians are speaking out against the bill. They argue that these marketing tactics influence prescribers to choose the most expensive drugs on the market when generic and other lower-cost alternatives are available.
They add that not only are doctors capable of affording their own meals and medical education, they should be encouraged to do so.
Governor Deval Patrick revealed Friday that he would approve the change. He has until Sunday to sign the entire budget.
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