Gift ban: Mass. House votes to repeal law regulating companies' gifts to doctors

April 27, 2011 by MassDevice staff

The Massachusetts House of Representatives votes to repeal a law requiring medical device and pharmaceutical companies to disclose certain gifts to physicians while banning other gifts altogether.

gift ban

MASSDEVICE ON CALL — Gift ban: Mass. House votes to repeal law regulating company's gifts to doctors. The Mass. House of Representatives voted to overturn a law that requires that medical device and pharmaceutical companies disclose certain gifts to physicians while banning other gifts altogether.

Commonwealth lawmakers yesterday voted 128-22 in their state budget debate to end the law.

The so-called "gift ban" legislation has been on the books in the Bay State since 2008, but critics charge that the law is bad for business.

The regulations contain sweeping limits and outright bans on gifts to physicians, including meals, tickets and even pens. The law also requires companies to report to the Mass. Dept. of Public Health all gifts worth more than $50 to physicians, hospitals, nursing homes, pharmacists and other health care providers.

The leaders of medical companies have complained that the law is an inconvenience while some business owners, such as restaurateurs, said the law causes a drop in revenues. Restaurant advocates said last summer that since the gift ban went into effect, device and drug companies have shown little interest in catering, cutting deep swaths out of their function revenue.

In July 2010, the Mass. legislature made its first attempt at repealing the ban just as mandated reports of gift giving began to become public. The elimination of the gift ban was included in economic development legislation that cleared the House 145-4, but the provision did not make it into the final bill.

The renewed debate entered the 2010 gubernatorial race and Governor Deval Patrick, said that the law was never meant for medical device companies while campaigning in October.

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