Tuesday, February 21, 2006

MDs - Grab those freebies while you can

The end of the gravy train is in sight. At least nine states are considering bills that would require pharmaceutical companies to publicly report annual gifts to physicians, hospitals and pharmacists, the USA Today reports.

Maine, Minnesota, Vermont, West Virginia and the District of Columbia currently have laws requiring the reporting of gifts. California requires that drug companies declare they are in compliance with federal and industry gift guidelines.

Many of the state proposals under consideration this year are modeled after the Vermont law, enacted in 2002, which requires drugmakers to report to the state's attorney general all gifts of $25 or more given to doctors, hospitals or pharmacists. Aggregate numbers are published but not the names of gift recipients. Some of the state proposals would be more restrictive, such as a Massachusetts bill that would ban all gifts to medical professionals from drugmakers.

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