MA proposes strictest rules yet on pharma, devicemaker payments

Once again on the forefront, the Massachusetts Public Health Council has issued a draft of some of nation's most aggressive regulation on the subject of gifts to physicians. The regulation would not just require pharmaceutical companies and medical devicemakers to reveal most of the payments they make to healthcare providers; they would also make substantial changes to what kind of payments and giveaways they could provide.

For instance, gone would be the days of medical offices overflowing with free pens and coffee mugs. Those would be on the list of prohibited giveaways, along with free entertainment, and most free meals. Less drastic are the prohibitions on any cash or cash-equivalent payments to providers for anything over than bona fide services.

These potential changes come at a time when there have been many questions about possible conflicts of interest from healthcare providers; some providers around the country have been voluntarily rejecting free pens and coffee mugs along with cash payments to avoid any potentially unseemly connections.

Six other states and the District of Columbia have already passed laws that restrict the marketing and sales activities of drug and devicemakers, but Massachusetts' is the most stringent thus far.

To learn more about the proposed legislation:
- read this Modern Healthcare piece (reg. req.)