Monday, May 18, 2009

Vermont Tightens Sunshine Law into Gift Ban

Thanks to our friends at the Prescription Project for this tip.

The Vermont legislature has followed up in spades on the previous state law that first required disclosure of drug company payments to physicians. The law, for all its pioneering status, became something of a joke because it contained a huge loophole that companies could conveal gifts they claimed to be trade secrets--and suddenly more than half the gifts to docs in Vermont became trade secrets.

As reported in the Burlington Free Press (, the new bill not only closed the "secret" loophole, but went even farther in banning gifts--for example, banning meals for physicians and their staffs as well as restricting other gifts. The big debate was over requiring the disclosure of the names of physicians who received samples. There was considerable pushback on that from docs and the bill's sponsors backed off lest the good features in the rest of the bill be jeopardized. The compromise was that the state would continue to study the sample issue.

No comments: