Massachusetts has joined the small but growing list of states regulating gifts and payments by pharmaceutical and device manufacturers to physicians. According to a Boston Globe article, Massachusetts regulators have adopted regulations banning gifts to physician and mandating disclosure of consulting/speaking payments to doctors in excess of $50. The regulations apply to any pharmaceutical and device company doing business in Massachusetts and take effect July 1, 2009.
This is yet another indication that the landscape surrounding physician-industry relationships is undergoing major changes. As regulators push for greater transparency, physicians must be careful to avoid arrangements with pharma and device companies which might not only violate state or federal laws (including the federal anti-kickback statute) but which could attract unwanted public attention and scrutiny.