New drug company laws go into effect on July 1

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(Host) The Vermont Attorney General’s office is preparing to implement a new law that limits gifts to doctors from drug companies.

In 2001, Vermont passed a law requiring drug makers to report gifts made to Vermont physicians.  The new law bans most gifts, with a few exceptions. 

Speaking Thursday on Vermont Edition, Assistant Attorney General Wendy Morgan gave a few examples of gifts to doctors that are prohibited by the new law:

(Morgan) "There might be gifts of money, gifts of food.  We had – as is reported for last year – there was one individual who received – one prescriber who received $15,000 in food. That is now going to be prohibited."

(Host) The new law also provides for a publicly searchable database of allowed payments to individual physicians. In the past, the Attorney General’s office compiled that data for the public, but wasn’t allowed to disclose which individual doctors were receiving compensation from drug makers.

Paul Harrington of the Vermont Medical Society supports these changes:

(Harrington) "The physician-patient relationship at its heart has to be grounded on trust. And the patient needs to know that the physician is prescribing pharmaceuticals only for the patient’s interests, and not based on undue influence from the pharmaceutical company."

(Host) Vermont’s new law applies to any medical professional with the authority to write pharmaceutical prescriptions or to prescribe biologics and medical devices.

The law goes into effect on July 1st.

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