Massachusetts health officials passed final regulations on changes to the Massachusetts medical gift ban, drawing strong criticism from some of the state’s major consumer advocacy groups.
Groups like Health Care for All, a boston based consumer group, and AARP, say this is a significant change to the law and a step backwards. Amy Whitcomb Slemmer, the executive director of Health Care for all, says meals are used to lure doctors to meetings where companies market expensive brand name drugs:
The law was changed after heavy lobbying from the restaurant industry. Local restaurant owners say they have lost hundreds of thousands of dollars in business because of the ban.
Governor Deval Patrick has argued that the change to the ban is small. And allowing meals would make it easier for companies to educate health care providers about new drugs and medical devices.