If Gov. David Paterson gets his 2010-2011 executive budget past the state legislature in Albany, N.Y., you’ll be able to add New York to the list of states with strict limits on the interaction between physicians and medical device sales representatives.
Paterson outlined the tighter regulations in his executive budget, released last week. While not as strict as other states’ gift bans, such as those passed in Massachusetts and Vermont, the proposal still calls for several new restrictions and stiffer penalties of up to $250,000 per violation and up to $10,000 for physicians caught violating the Empire State regulations.
The proposal is "intended to benefit patients and enhance the practice of medicine," according to the statute, which begins on page 43 of the budget proposal. The gift ban, which would apply to pharmaceutical and biologics sales representatives as well, would call for:
- New rules regulating meals provided by sales reps to physicians. In particular, sales representatives may provide lunch to a physician’s office if it is brought specifically for a meeting. Sales representatives will not be allowed to take a physician out to eat, or provide meals to family and friends of physicians.
- New rules eliminating any gifts such as sporting event or theater tickets, as well as "floral arrangements, artwork, compact discs"or other boondoggles.
- New regulations limiting consulting services and speaking engagement payments to physicians at conferences and continuing medical education events, to ensure that phjysicians are only being reimbursed for "bona fide" services.
The proposed rules do not prohibit investment in a medical device or pharmaceutical company by physicians, nor do they prohibit providing rebates, discounts or free samples for patients.