Farewell to pharma freebies?

Massachusetts may become the first state with a complete ban on pharmaceutical company freebies to doctors. The president of the Massachusetts Senate, linkurl:Therese Murray;http://www.mass.gov/legis/member/t_m0.htm (D), yesterday (March 3) filed a bill that seeks to reduce linkurl:conflicts of interest;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/54300/ and healthcare costs by stemming the flow of gifts from pharmaceutical companies to doctors in the state, according to linkurl:__The Boston Globe

By | March 4, 2008

Massachusetts may become the first state with a complete ban on pharmaceutical company freebies to doctors. The president of the Massachusetts Senate, linkurl:Therese Murray;http://www.mass.gov/legis/member/t_m0.htm (D), yesterday (March 3) filed a bill that seeks to reduce linkurl:conflicts of interest;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/54300/ and healthcare costs by stemming the flow of gifts from pharmaceutical companies to doctors in the state, according to linkurl:__The Boston Globe__.;http://www.boston.com/news/health/articles/2008/03/04/ban_on_gifts_to_doctors_sought/?page=1 This means that everything from free journal subscriptions and paid travel expenses to swag such as note pads and pens bearing the logo of the latest pain medication would be off limits for pharmaceutical companies to offer and for doctors to accept. Distributing free samples of new drugs that physicians could offer to their patients would, however, still be allowed. According to the bill, violators of the ban would face a $5,000 fine, two years in jail, or both. Other states, including Vermont and Minnesota, have enacted laws that require pharmaceutical companies to disclose the value of such gifts over $25 and that place a $50 limit on drug company gifts to physicians, respectively. Murray filed the bill as part of healthcare reform legislation that includes measures requiring MA doctors to keep electronic medical records by 2015, mandating public reviews of insurance companies trying to raise annual premiums by more than 7 percent, among other rules.

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