House Repeals Prescription Drug Gift Ban, Pharma wins big in House Budget

Media Contacts


Boston, MA—“The House of Representatives sided with the Pharmaceutical industry today against consumers when they repealed the Prescription Drug and Medical Device Ban and the Ban on prescription drug marketing coupons as part of the House Budget,” said Deirdre Cummings, Legislative Director of MASSPIRG.

Health care is the fastest growing household expense, jumping 48% in the last 7 years to an average cost of $14,606 per family. Prescription drugs have been a significant factor in skyrocketing health care costs.

But despite the obvious need to cut costs, pharmaceutical companies succeeded in repealing two important consumer protection provisions in the state budget that will increase the cost of healthcare.

The House repealed the Prescription Drug and Medical Device Ban and Disclosure Law, a critical consumer protection law aimed at driving down our health care costs by reining in Big Pharma’s aggressive marketing tactics. The Rx gift ban and disclosure law prohibits gifts and/or payments of more than $50, including restaurant meals and entertainment, to physicians from drug and medical device companies.

The House also weakened the current ban on Prescription Drug Marketing Coupons, undermining current efforts to control health care costs. Allowing prescription drug marketing coupons will increase drug costs for Massachusetts employers, consumers, unions, and state and local governments by $750 million over the next 10 years, according to a recent report by the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association (PCMA). Moreover, allowing the use of coupons as a marketing gimmick undermines patient health. 


For more information on both amendments:

Letter to House on Prescription Drug Ban

Letter to House on Drug Company Marketing Coupons