Mass. lawmakers may overturn doc-gift ban

Doctors in Massachusetts might be able to accept pharma freebies again, if a new bill clears the state legislature. An economic development bill now under consideration in the state House includes a provision overturning that high-profile ban on gifts to doctors.

The rationale behind the bill is that prohibiting handouts to doctors and industry-sponsored dinners has hurt local business. "Over the past year and a half," Rep. Brian Dempsey tells the Boston Business Journal, "we've been hearing from device and biotech companies, the convention center and the restaurant industry, that this is causing additional problems during the worst recession in memory."

It's by no means sure that the new bill will survive, however. The State Senate has already passed a version of the economic development bill that doesn't contain the gift-ban provision. And plenty of lawmakers who supported the gift ban on the first go-around are still behind the idea.

- get the Business Journal story
- check out the news from the Boston Globe
- see the Boston Herald's take