Over at A Healthy Blog, our friends at Health Care For All (a member of the Prescription Access Litigation coalition) report today on the fight that is brewing in the Massachusetts legislature over a proposed ban on pharma gifts to physicians. They quote an article from yesterday’s State House News Service:
Pharmaceutical companies are attacking Senate President Therese Murray’s effort to block their firms from providing gifts, meals or trips to doctors, calling it an anti-business policy that would hobble efforts to deliver cutting-edge drugs to patients. In a letter to the chairs of the Legislature’s Economic Development and Emerging Technologies Committee, executives from Pfizer, Amgen, Abbot Bioresearch Center, Genentech, all of which have facilities in Massachusetts, ripped the gift ban as counter to Beacon Hill’s painstaking efforts to lure the life sciences industry, highlighted by Gov. Deval Patrick’s nearly year-old $1 billion incentives plan headed for legislative approval.
It’s somewhat odd to cast a gifts and lunches to doctors as being on par with a $1 billion state incentive plan — unless perhaps the gifts and trips and meals are worth more than $1 billion to the industry — after all, Massachusetts has dozens of teaching hospitals and a new health care law that means more and more people with health insurance. The prescriptions written as a result of a modest investment in gifts and trips and meals could easily garner more than a billion in new sales.
To learn more about the proposed gift ban, go visit the Massachusetts Prescription Reform Coalition.