℞ed Lobster at State House; DPH Hearing Friday Morning on Drug Rules
Thursday at the State House, some 20 medical students and physicians joined with Health Care For All, Community Catalyst, Representative Jason Lewis, and others to bring attention to Friday's DPH hearing. At the hearing, medical clinicians, experts, consumer, health care, senior and community advocates will voice strong opposition to emergency regulations weakening the state’s prescription and medical device marketing law. Thursday's event garnered lots of attention. The demonstration was covered by the State House News, Springfield's channel 22, the Boston Herald, and WBUR's CommonHealth blog ("Do You Like Your Docs Shaken or Stirred?"). Modest Means Modest The regulations implement a law passed last summer to relax state restrictions on meals provided by pharmaceutical and medical device companies to doctors. Under the previous law, meals may not be provided unless in a clinical setting. The amendment permits “modest meals and refreshments” to be offered at educational programs outside of a health care setting, such as a restaurant. The rules ignored the legislative direction to limit permitted meals to those considered modest, and instead defined “modest” as “similar to what a health care practitioner might purchase when dining at his or her own expense.” As a result of the new regulations, drug companies are free to ply doctors with lavish multi-course meals and drinks, paid for by pharmaceutical industry marketing budgets, and ultimately tacked on to the price of prescriptions. The students delivered a petition signed by some 150 medical students, calling on the Governor to reverse the preliminary DPH decision. Join us at the hearing, Friday at 10 am, DPH, 250 Washington Street, Boston.