Saturday, 2:15 PM
Biotech industry battles doctor gift legislation
By Matt Viser, Globe Staff
The state's biotech industry and other business groups are urging Governor Deval Patrick to strike from a healthcare bill on his desk a provision that would clamp down on drug companies' gifts and meals to doctors.
In a full-page ad in The Boston Globe today, the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council, along with the Associated Industries of Massachusetts, the Massachusetts High Technology Council, and the Cambridge Chamber of Commerce, said the legislation began with a simple premise: "demonize an industry and the thousands of professionals that comprise it, including doctors, for being successful."
The provision, included as part of a sweeping healthcare bill approved by the Legislature last week, requires companies to report to the state Department of Public Health any payment or gift over $50 made to a healthcare professional. The gifts would be publicly reported on the state's website.
Proponents say the new restrictions would limit the marketing influences in medicine, which could lower costs and encourage doctors to diagnose based on the best treatment rather than the most well-connected pharmaceutical companies.
But the businesses are concerned that such public disclosure would allow their competitors to learn more about their strategies, giving their competitors an edge.
The legislation would require that companies "disclose, to their competitors, the products and areas of research in which they are involved. The chilling effect that this will have on the life sciences industry in Massachusetts could not be more obvious," said the ad, which was also signed by the international Biotechnology Industry Organization and the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America.
This blogger might want to review your comment before posting it.