The California Senate approved McGuire’s bill that prohibits drug companies from giving gifts to doctors. According to Sen. Mike McGuire, his bill prohibiting advantages like lavish meals or airline tickets would lower drug costs.
Because doctors who receive such gifts are more likely to prescribe expensive drugs.
The bill was sent to Assembly by the Senate with a 23-13 vote.
More than $1.4 billion are spend yearly on gifts to California doctors by drug companies, said McGuire.
“While we have witnessed the cost of drugs rise over the past decade, industry profits have also grown significantly,” McGuire said. “We should be all standing for seniors and taxpayers to drive down the cost of prescription drugs.”
Vermont law enacted in 2009 (that bans drug companies from giving perks to doctors) was used as a model for the bill.
“As a provider myself, I have no problem not accepting any gifts from any pharmaceutical company that comes trying peddle their drugs in my office,” said McGuire.
Few Republicans opposed the bill, saying drug companies should spend money on gifts, in order to successfully market their products.
“Successful products provide the funding for the research, for cures,” said Sen. Ted Gaines, a Republican who represents a district near Sacramento. “Why would we do anything to diminish the ability of pharma companies to be successful in providing these new products?
According to Patricia Bates, Senate minority leader, gifts from drug companies to doctors are already controlled.
The bill could discourage doctors from getting involved in clinical trials and limit Californians’ access to experimental drugs.
That’s the reason why the bill is opposed by the pharmaceutical industry’s main lobbying group.
Under the bill, the doctors will be allowed to receive salaries for running clinical trials, and drug companies can pay for meals if the costs are below $250 per year per doctor.
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