State public health officials have approved some of the country's strictest rules regarding gifts and payments to doctors from pharmaceutical and medical device companies.
The regulations are meant to prevent drug and medical device firms from having too much influence over health care providers. They ban companies from giving gifts to doctors ranging from museum tickets to promotional pens. And they require firms to disclose any payments above $50 to doctors for marketing activities.
"We're very happy that we'll be shedding some light on these potential conflicts of interest," said Georgia Maheras of the nonprofit group Health Care for All, "so that we can make sure that patients can find out what their doctors are doing and make sure they're getting the care that they need."
Corporate critics say the rules are an unfair burden to the biopharmaceutical industry.
This program aired on March 11, 2009. The audio for this program is not available.