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Vermont Legislature Passes Most Stringent Law Yet on Drug Makers' Gifts to Doctors
By Carrie Strasser
The New York Times reported on Wednesday that Vermont is putting its foot down on medical industry payments and gifts to doctors and other health care providers. The law passed by the Vermont legislature requires drug and device manufacturers to publicly disclose all money given, including the names of the doctors gifts were given to, and the dollar amounts given.
This is the strictest state law yet because it would ban almost all industry gifts, like free meals to doctors, staff, pharmacists, etc. Other states have enacted similar laws. Minnesota requires the drug industry to report payments to doctors. Massachusetts limits gifts to health care practitioners and requires disclosure of payments over $50.
'This is a much more comprehensive law because it makes clear — whether devices, biologics or drugs are involved — the issue is inappropriate gift-giving,' said Sharon Treat, the executive director of a nonprofit group, the National Legislative Association for Prescription Drug Pricing, and a Democrat in the Maine House of Representatives....
Makers of medical products spent about $2.9 million in fiscal year 2008 on marketing to health care professionals in Vermont, according to a report last month from the state's attorney general. Of Vermont's 4,573 licensed health practitioners, almost half received remuneration, including payments for lectures, meals or lodging from pharmaceutical companies in the 2008 fiscal year, the report said.
The highest amount spent on one person in Vermont was $112,000.00 given to a psychiatrist. However, other specialists also received over $100,000.00 during the year. The Vermont Medical Society supports the bill and represents 65% of the physicians in the state.
Peter Shumlin, who is the president pro tempore of the Vermont state senate, hopes that Vermont could be a model for the rest of the country and emphasized that their goal was to advocate for public disclosure and not to prohibit the practice all together.Originally posted at InjuryBoard by Carrie Strasser
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