A Healthy Blog

Massachusetts health care — wonky, with a healthy dose of reality

Prescription Drug Reform

Drug Coupons Are A Bad Deal

As the House and Senate budgets head into conference committee negotiations, a new study reaffirms what we already know: prescription drug marketing coupons are a bad deal for health care consumers. Read more »

Updating the Senate Update - Good News on Prescription Marketing Standards

Around noon Friday the Senate approved their budget on a 36-0 vote. The Senate bill contains no language to weaken or repeal the pharmaceutical and medical device gift ban law. Senator Petruccelli's so-called "restaurant rejuvenation" amendment did not come up for a vote. For this victory we thank Senate President Murray and Senator Montigny for their leadership and support. (side note: the latest DOR Blue Book (pdf) shows that restaurant sales went up another 11% from 2011 to 2012, despite the restrictions on drug companies paying for doctors' meals; and the humongous BIO International... Read more »

Senate Update - Rx Issue Pending in Budget; Payment Reform Bill Amendments Posted

This morning the Senate will reconvene at 9 am to finish up its work on the FY 2013 budget. Last night the Senate approved an amendment by Senator Chandler to begin the process of restoring some of the dental benefits that were eliminated for  adults in MassHealth. We're grateful to Senators for understanding the critical role dental care plays in overall health. Read more »

Press Statement: Health Care For All, MASSPIRG, AARP Deeply Disappointed by House Repeal of the Pharmaceutical and Medical Device Gift Ban

The state's largest consumer, health care and senior organizations are deeply disappointed that House members voted to repeal the Pharmaceutical and Medical Device Gift Ban and Disclosure Law, commonly known as the gift ban, during yesterday's budget debate. Included in health care cost containment legislation passed in 2008, the gift ban law is an important consumer protection law aimed at driving down our highest-in-the-nation, spiraling health care costs. The law reins in Big Pharma's aggressive marketing tactics by banning gifts and/or payments of more than $50, including restaurant... Read more »

HCFA, MASSPIRG, AARP Urge Preservation of the Pharmaceutical and Medical Device Gift Ban

The state’s largest consumer, health care and senior organizations called on House members to oppose the partial repeal of the Pharmaceutical and Medical Device Gift Ban Law, commonly known as the gift ban, included in the House Ways and Means budget. Included in health care cost containment legislation passed in 2008, the gift ban law is an important consumer protection law aimed at driving down our highest-in-the-nation, spiraling health care costs. The law reins in Big Pharma’s aggressive marketing tactics by banning gifts and/or payments of more than $50, including restaurant meals and... Read more »

Big Pharma is at it again!

<cross-posted from Blue Mass Group> Well, Big Pharma is at it again. This time, Pharma companies are wiggling their way into the legislature’s House budget. Watch this: SECTION 46. Section 2 of chapter 111N of the General Laws is hereby repealed. What the what does that mean? What sort of legal mumbo-jumbo voodoo magic is that? Well, with just that one sentence, buried deep in the budget, the MA House of Representatives would eliminate the ban on Pharma companies giving gifts to doctors and other prescribers to promote their drugs. The gift ban is needed because we don’t want doctors to... Read more »

Linking Our Drug Marketing Reforms With Higher Generic Use = Savings

Massachusetts ranks as one of the top states for medication adherence, while residents with chronic conditions are more likely than residents of all other states to take generic medication. These findings come from CVS Caremark’s new report, which examined medication adherence for four common chronic diseases – diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and depression – in all 50 states to determine if patients are taking (or not taking) their medications. Read more »

DPH Posts New Pharma and Device Payment Data

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) recently published its annual report of payments made to Massachusetts prescribers by pharmaceutical and medical device companies. The data covers payments for speaking, consulting, grants, food, educational programs, marketing studies, and charitable donations – totaling $64 million in 2010. Read more »

Public Health Committee Approves CMSP, Drug Marketing, Outreach Bills

Yesterday the Joint Committee on Public Health, chaired by Senator Susan Fargo and Representative Jeffrey Sanchez recommended favorably 27 bills, and moved along two additional bills to the Committee on Health Care Financing.  Among the bills were some important HCFA priorities that will make a difference in improved health for people in Massachusetts. We thank Chairs Fargo and Sanchez for approving these measures, and hope they will quickly move through the legislative process. Read more »

Public Hearing on Prescription Drug Shortages

On Monday, February 13, the Joint Committee on Public Health will conduct an oversight hearing to investigate the impact of drug shortages on patient care in Massachusetts. The hearing will take place from 11:00 A.M. to 3:00 P.M. at the State House in Boston, Hearing Room A-2. Read more »

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