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Proposed New Rules For Doctors, Drug Companies

Massachusetts would crack down on gifts, payments, and consulting work that doctors can get from drug companies and medical device firms under new rules before the state Department of Public Health.

WBUR'S Sacha Pfeiffer reports.

PFEIFFER: The proposed regulations would close a loophole that consumer advocates say would have let companies hide payments they make to doctors for doing marketing research or product promotion. If the rules pass, those payments will have to be disclosed.

The regulations would also prevent doctors from accepting gifts from drug or medical device firms. That includes most meals, travel expenses and even pens and coffee mugs.

State officials say the rules are designed to prevent pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies from having too much influence over doctors. They're also meant to let patients know if their doctors have a financial interest in any drugs they're prescribing or medical devices they're recommending.

For WBUR, I'm Sacha Pfeiffer.

This program aired on March 11, 2009. The audio for this program is not available.

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