The Public Health Council will vote on the Department of Public Health’s gifts ban and disclosure regulations Wednesday, March 11th. Consumer advocates are calling on the council to do the right thing and vote to strengthen the proposed regulations with full disclosure of payments to health care practitioners and a total gifts ban.
We know the eyes of the nation are watching Massachusetts as a leader in health care reform, quality care, and cost control and this is an opportunity to set another good example.
It is in the best interest of patients that they know who is paying their doctors. Full disclosure of payments to doctors will offer patients the transparency they need and deserve.
Why is this needed? Because, pharmaceutical and medical device makers spend billions of dollars annually in marketing to promote their products. They spend approximately $7 billion a year directly on prescribers. This money is spent to encourage these prescribers to prescribe certain drugs and medical devices. In addition to pens and mugs, these companies have used resort weekends, speech honoraria, and consulting fees to get prescribers to use their products. The industry promotes the newer, more expensive products since those make them the most money.
We hope the DPH has modified its proposed regulations to reflect the true intent of Chapter 305 and use them to mandate disclosure of all payments made to prescribers- regardless of amount spent or purpose for the payment. Stay tuned for details on the final vote!
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