New York State Gov. David Paterson introduced legislation in his 2010-2011 budget that proposes restrictions on interactions between industry and healthcare professionals, which could affect continuing medical education programs in the state. Another bill, in the Minnesota state legislature, also could have an impact on
Gov. Paterson’s proposal, introduced January 19, would prohibit pharmaceutical and medical device companies from providing gifts to physicians, including at conferences and meetings. It would be similar to laws passed in Massachusetts and Vermont.
Regarding continuing medical education, the proposal says, “No medical manufacturing company shall be a provider of any CME program within the state.” It also says that companies may not sponsor CME activities in the state unless the company separates CME grant-making from sales and marketing functions and follows the Accreditation Council for CME Standards for Commercial Support. It basically puts into law what companies already do on their own in accordance with the CME codes and standards, says Thomas Sullivan president at Rockpointe Corp., a CME provider based in Columbia, Md.
The bill also states that “no healthcare professional practicing in the state shall attend or present at any continuing medical education program sponsored by any pharmaceutical company unless advised by the program provider” that the company has provided assurance that it complies with the legislation. That could mean that every company that exhibits at a meeting in the state must sign off that they have followed the regulations, explains Sullivan, who also writes the PolicyMed blog.
Violation of the law would carry fines of between $15,000 and $250,000 per violation for companies, and between $5,000 and $10,000 per violation for healthcare professionals, according to an AP article.
The state legislature has until April 1 to approve the budget.
Minn. Bill Seeks to Impose More Restrictions
Minnesota was the first state to place restrictions on pharmaceutical industry gifts to physicians when it passed a law in 1993 saying gifts to physicians couldn’t exceed $50. In January, state Rep. Tina Liebling proposed a bill—H.F. No. 1641—that looks to impose additional restrictions.
H.F. No. 1641 would eliminate the $50 limit and prohibit gifts to healthcare professionals outright, including those tchotchkes often given away at tradeshow booths. It would also extend the ban to include medical device manufacturers. Further, the bill requires companies to disclose all payments over $100 made to healthcare professionals—including speaker honoraria, expense reimbursement, and consulting fees. In addition, they companies must disclose payments made to sponsor medical conferences.