MN limits on pharma gifts to doctors slow drug rep visits

Two years ago, Minnesota officials ruled that state law barred drugmakers from giving doctors more than $50 worth of gifts per year. The requirement piggybacks on other rules requiring drugmakers to report on all consulting payments to doctors. 

If it were true that doctors weren't seeing reps for the food or gifts, one would think that these rules wouldn't have a huge impact on drug marketing practices--but that's not what happened. Since then, the number of visits the state's primary care doctors have accepted from drug reps has fallen dramatically, at about twice the rate of the decline in PCP visits nationally, research suggests. Meanwhile, a number of Minnesota hospitals and clinics have barred sales reps from their locations. (To compensate, drug firms are beginning to invite nurses and administrators to dinners to make their pitch--though observers say their main goal is provide an audience for the well-paid physicians giving the dinner talks.) Now, other states are taking an interest in following Minnesota's lead, with several considering related legislation.

To learn more about the impact of these rules:
- read this piece in The New York Times

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