VT passes stiffer ban on industry gifts to providers

Vermont legislators have passed a bill that would require medical products companies to share information on payments they make to providers and other groups.

The bill would expand an existing ban forbidding drugmakers, medical device manufacturers and biotech firms from giving free food and gifts to providers. It would also close up some loopholes in the state's current rules demanding that medical-products companies disclose payments made to providers and researchers.

Pharmas and medical device firms would have to make detailed annual public disclosures detailing what kind of payments they're making to doctors, healthcare organizations, non-profits and academic medical institutions. They'll also have to annually publish the names of their compliance officers, as well as listing any previous-year disclosure violations or enforcement actions they faced.

The law would require companies to pay a $500 annual disclosure fee, plus a fine of up to $10,000 per incident for any violations of the rules.

Experts say that if Gov. Jim Douglas signs the bill as expected, the state will have the toughest public-disclose requirements in place anywhere in the U.S., though Massachusetts and Minnesota do have laws requiring disclosure of physician gifts.

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

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