Physician Gift Ban in Massachusetts Fizzles
The Massachusetts House of Representatives stripped a provision from legislation last week that would ban gifts to physicians, replacing it with requirements that manufacturers adopt a marketing code of conduct.
A version of the bill, S. 2660, that included the gift ban passed the state Senate in April. The House bill requires device firms to adopt a conduct code, identifying AdvaMed’s code as being compliant.
The Massachusetts Medical Device Industry Council (MassMEDIC), a trade group, got the AdvaMed code inserted into the legislation. The bill had come to the floor with just the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America’s code identified as satisfying the requirements of the bill, H. 4974.
The legislation requires sales representatives to be trained on a code of conduct. It also requires firms to do annual audits to monitor compliance. But results of those audits would not be submitted to the state Department of Public Health.
Devicemakers would have to adopt procedures for investigating noncompliance and maintain effective lines of communication for employees to report violations. They would designate a compliance officer to be responsible for developing, operating and monitoring the marketing code.According to Thomas Sommer, president of MassMEDIC, the legislation is not too onerous and many of the group’s members have a code of conduct in place.