Action Requested on SB790

CA Senate bill 790 –  A bill limiting gifts and benefits to health care providers from manufacturers of prescribed products or distributors of medical devices.

Quick summary: A bill (Introduced by Senator Mike McGuire)  just recently passed in the California Senate to outlaw the payment of honoraria, gifts, and meals (over $250/year) to healthcare professionals. The bill has passed in the California Senate and moved to the State Assembly. Should it pass through the State Assembly and be signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown, the ability of physicians to interact with industry will be severely restricted. It is expected to happen as early as June 26. We believe this bill will do more harm than good, are opposed and asking members to take action – see bottom of this page for more info.

Physicians are the main target of this legislation despite the authors’ reassurance that “the vast majority of medical professionals in California do their job well and put the needs of their patients first.”

Sen. McGuire finds that “current voluntary efforts are not enough to … protect patients from overpriced prescriptions. SB 790 will restrict pharmaceutical gifts and help control drug costs.” On this basis Sen. McGuire seeks to regulate food and beverages served by pharmaceutical companies at meetings of medical professionals?

The pitch in favor of this bill may sound good but there are problems with this expansive legislation which will affect us all in one way or another.

First, we believe the $250 food limit per provider, per year would have a significant impact on the ability of urologists to engage in peer to peer dialogue during industry sponsored educational dinner programs. In addition this would impact in-office lunches where industry representatives provide insights on new products, indications, package insert changes, new clinical trials, etc. Many offices have policies in place to limit disruptions during offices hours and this may be the only time that a urologist can speak to an industry representative to discuss key product information, patient assistance programs/services for patients.

As urologists we are active in adopting new technologies and medical products, which enables us to provide the highest quality and most appropriate care for patients. We believe that the provisions of this bill would further increase burdensome regulations, distance us from industry and have a chilling effect on education, innovation and medical research.

Many of the physicians who attend dinner-meetings put on by pharmaceutical companies do not use or prescribe the products discussed: they come to hear experts discuss the mechanism of action of new medications and techniques and to enjoy the company of colleagues in an environment where there’s little interference.

Lastly, this bill is unnecessary. There are federal laws already in place restricting and regulating industry interaction, such as the “Sunshine Act” as well as various ACCME regulations on gifts.

Where this battle needs to be fought is in the courts and in Congress which so far have allowed Medicare and other entities to avoid negotiating with suppliers for better prices.

If you agree, PLEASE make at least one phone call or email today demanding that this bill be defeated or amended.

Call or contact the office of Jim Wood (Chair of the Assembly Committee)
or John Gilman, Analyst

(916) 319-2002
(916) 319-2097
And/or contact your legislator
click here to find your legislator and contact info
Click link below for a text and summary of bill



Click link to view article