A new report suggests that despite the economic downturn, the pharmaceutical and medical device sectors in Minnesota have experienced significant growth in recent years, mirroring similar expansion in Massachusetts. These data further drain much-repeated claims that pharma and device disclosure and gift laws passed in those states would have a “chilling effect” on industry—claims that last year worked to squelch an update to Minnesota’s law that would have required medical device companies to report payments made to health care providers in that state, as well.

The report, by the BioBusiness Alliance of Minnesota, found 20 percent growth in the state’s biobusiness jobs between 2002-2007, and within that trend, pharma jobs stood out, growing 76 percent, more than the 10 other states analyzed in the report. “Employment in the medical device industry in Minnesota increased by 4,500 jobs during 2002 to 2007,” the Minnesota Star Tribune underscored, “compared with a loss of 11,000 medical device jobs nationwide during that same time period.”

And last week brought more good news for the pharma industry in Massachusetts: Pfizer’s bringing hundreds more jobs to the Boston area, and looking to relocate two plants there from Connecticut. As you may know, since passing a first-of-its-kind gift restrictions and payment disclosure law in 2008, Massachusetts has been the epicenter of the most heated debate about the effect of state transparency regs on business. But headline after headline like this one in the years since the law passed suggest that, if anything, pharma business in the Bay State is stronger than maybe any other North American hub, and with the help of the state’s life sciences initiative, companies keep moving in and spreading out.

Here’s the Globe:

“Pfizer’s decision to increase research in the Boston area follows similar recent moves by global drug makers such as Novartis AG of Switzerland and Sanofi-Aventis SA of France, which want to plug into the area’s life sciences industry at a time when drug discovery has slowed worldwide…

‘It’s a confirmation that, when some of these companies have to make tough decisions, they continue to favor Massachusetts,’ said Susan Windham-Bannister, president of the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, a state agency created to implement Governor Deval Patrick’s life sciences initiative. ‘It’s a good place to partner, it’s a good place to keep the finger on the pulse, and it’s a good place to tap into a skilled workforce.’’’

–Kate Petersen, PostScript blogger