State Sen. Mike McGuire (D-Healdsburg),
who authored the bill, said that when drugmakers woo physicians with meals and other enticements they generate brand loyalty, which can raise health care costs and even compromise patient safety.
McGuire’s bill would limit drug company payments to health care providers — including cash and gifts of food, travel or entertainment — mostly to educational and scientific purposes, such as seminars.
Senate Bill 790, as amended, McGuire. Health care providers: gifts and benefits.
The Sherman Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Law, administered by the State Department of Public Health, regulates the packaging, labeling, and advertising of drugs and devices, and requires a manufacturer of any drug or device in the state to be licensed by the department. Existing law imposes various requirements on persons engaged in the provision of health care services in the state.
This bill would prohibit a manufacturer of a prescribed product, as defined, from offering or giving a gift to a health care provider. The bill would define a gift as anything of value provided for free to a health care provider, or a payment, food, entertainment, travel, subscription, advance, service, or anything else of value provided to a health care provider, unless it is a specified allowable expenditure or the health care provider reimburses the cost at fair market value. The bill would prohibit a manufacturer of a prescribed product or an entity on behalf of a manufacturer of a prescribed product from providing a fee, payment, subsidy, or other economic benefit to a health care provider in connection with the provider’s participation in research. The bill would specify circumstances to which these prohibitions do not apply. The bill would authorize the Attorney General to bring an action to enforce a violation of these prohibitions and to seek injunctive relief and imposition of a civil penalty for each violation, as specified.
Existing federal law, the Physician Payments Sunshine Act (Sunshine Act), requires manufacturers of specified drugs, devices, biologicals, or medical supplies to disclose to the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services payments or other transfers of value made to physicians or teaching hospitals.
This bill would state the intent of the Legislature that the prohibitions and requirements described above complement and operate in conjunction with the Sunshine Act. The bill would state the intent of the Legislature to enact legislation similar to the Sunshine Act if the Sunshine Act is repealed or becomes inoperative.