Once again I can put up my feet and coast, thanks this time to our good friends over at Postscript:
It seems that since Vermont first required public disclosure of payments to physicians, and then went further and put limits on drug companies buying meals for docs, the total industry expenditure in that state went down. Postscript says that this does not mean that conflict of interest has disappeared as a problem, but it does suggest that if drug reps can't buy meals for their victims--sorry, for practicing physicians in need of "education"--then there are perhaps few arrows left in their quivers. (That's after the industry supposedly voluntarily gave up the "reminder items," the coffee mugs, pens, etc. emblazoned with drug logos, back in January 2009. I don't think I'd personally like to be a drug rep in VT these days.)
All that asssumes of course that companies are being above-board in reporting their payments. Some disclosure laws offer considerable loopholes; I am not up to date on the latest version of the VT law--is anyone out there who can comment?