The Boston Globe published are article on the angst that the life sciences industry of Massachusetts is having over the gift ban that Governor Patrick signed into law earlier this week Life sciences firms anxious about rules on gifts to doctors.
The law, signed by Governor Deval L. Patrick on Sunday, requires pharmaceutical companies and medical device makers to publicly disclose gifts and payments of more than $50 to healthcare professionals and places a ban on certain gifts, such as tickets to sporting events.
It also directs the Department of Public Health to draft extensive regulations restricting companies' marketing practices, using the national pharmaceutical industry's own voluntary "code of conduct" as a starting point. Violations would carry a penalty of $5,000.
But in a letter addressed to lawmakers, Patrick said the new rules are not intended to force companies to disclose confidential information, impede medical research, or block the training of healthcare providers, issues that have all been raised by industry groups and executives. And Patrick said he is confident the state health department could develop regulations consistent with both the law and the state's commitment to strengthen the life sciences sector, a statement that reassured some executives.
"All interested parties will have a full opportunity to participate and comment on the development of those regulations," Patrick said.
At least one company Smith and Nephew announced in the Globe:
They had been planning to expand a medical training facility in Andover to teach doctors how to use its latest tools, but has put the process on hold until it sees the final regulations. The company wants to make sure the new rules do not bar it from reimbursing doctors for their time and travel expenses.
"We're hoping to work with them on the interpretation of the law so that it doesn't inhibit the industry's or companies' ability to educate surgeons,"
It is important to let the Governor’s office know that education of physicians and surgeons is necessary to the health of the patients in the state of Massachusetts and to stand firm on his promise:
“I am confident the Department of Public Health, pursuant to its regulatory authority, will safeguard the confidentiality of companies’ trade secrets and proprietary information and protect against roadblocks to medical research or the education of health care providers.”
Contact information for the Governor’s Office
The Governor promised to protect against roadblocks to medical research and education of healthcare providers, lets remind him to stick to his promise.