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June 27, 2017

Maine Legislature Passes Gift Ban Legislation

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The Maine Legislature recently passed LD 911, An Act to Prohibit Certain Gifts to Health Care Practitioners, through the unanimous consent calendar.

This bill amends the Maine Pharmacy Act to prohibit a person engaged in the manufacture of prescription drugs or a person who buys prescription drugs for resale and distribution to persons other than consumers from giving a gift to an individual who is licensed, registered or otherwise authorized in the appropriate jurisdiction to prescribe and administer drugs in the course of that individual's professional practice. "Gift" does not include samples of prescription drugs to be given to patients for free, items with a total value of less than $50 over a calendar year, payments to sponsors of educational programs, honoraria and payments of expenses incurred at an educational conference or meeting, compensation for research, publications or educational materials and salaries or other benefits paid to employees.

The bill specifically declines to include the following in the definition of “gift,” signifying that the below items will be permitted.

  1. Professional samples of a drug provided to a practitioner for free distribution to patients;
  2. Items with a total combined retail value, in any calendar year, of not more than $50;
  3. A payment to the sponsor of a medical conference, professional meeting, or other educational program, as long as the payment is not made directly to a practitioner and is used solely for bona fide educational purposes;
  4. Reasonable honoraria and payment of the reasonable expenses of a practitioner who serves on the faculty at a professional or educational conference or meeting;
  5. Compensation for the substantial professional or consulting services of a practitioner in connection with a genuine research project;
  6. Publications or educational materials; or
  7. Salaries or other benefits paid to employees.

Democratic Rep. Scott Hamann says the proposed law addresses part of Maine's addiction problem by preventing doctors from overprescribing opioids.

The bill is now at the Governor’s desk and he has not yet given indication as to what he plans on doing.  

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