MA bans most industry gifts to providers, requires disclosure

Massachusetts officials have just passed some of the toughest regulations in the country governing financial relationships between providers and drug/medical devicemakers.

The new rules, which were recently approved by the Massachusetts Public Health Council, ban nearly all types of gifts by drug and devicemakers to providers, including any payments that aren't genuine compensation for services. Medical product companies may not pay providers to attend entertainment events or travel, give them complimentary items such as mugs or pens, and meals must be modest. (The rules still allow for industry sponsorship of CME events, an omission some critics would consider a serious loophole.)

In situations where medical product companies are allowed to make payments to providers, the companies will have to disclose those payments publicly.

Massachusetts is now the only state requiring both drug and devicemakers to disclose details of their consulting agreement-related payments to physicians. Massachusetts is also the first state to demand that companies adopt a code of conduct forbidding many standard gifting practices.

The new regulations take effect July 1 of this year, and public reporting of payments to providers begins on June 1, 2010.

To learn more about these regulations:
- read this Modern Healthcare piece (reg. req.)

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