Legislature Preserves Rx Gift Ban in Budget

Media Contacts


MASSPIRG praised the legislature for rejecting attempts by Big Pharma to repeal laws aimed at lowering our skyrocketing health care costs by reining in the drug industry’s aggressive and expensive marketing tactics in the budget.

The state FY2012 budget, approved by the legislature today, will not include two budget riders that would have repealed the Prescription Drug Gift Ban and the prohibition of certain prescription drug coupons.

“By rejecting the two budget riders, the legislature has indicated that controlling health care costs remains a priority,” said Deirdre Cummings, legislative director of MASSPIRG.

The Prescription Drug Gift Ban, passed in 2008, is an important consumer protection law aimed at driving down our highest-in-the-nation, spiraling health care costs by reining in Big Pharma’s aggressive marketing tactics by banning gifts and/or payments of more than $50, including restaurant meals and entertainment, to physicians from drug and medical device companies.

The coupon gimmick is another tactic Big Pharma wants to use to get us to buy the newest name brand prescriptions, when often the generics or other lower cost drugs give us the same medical benefit at a fraction of the cost.

Massachusetts has the most expensive health care in the country, and prescription drugs have been the fastest growing portion of our skyrocketing health care costs in recent years.
“With each new gimmick, the cost of the whole health care system goes up, without making anybody healthier.  If we want to get serious about a health care system that works for consumers, we have to say no to Big Pharma’s aggressive marketing scams,” concluded Cummings.