Do You Like Your Docs Shaken Or Stirred?

Medical students and consumer advocates protest against the relaxation of a gift ban

Opponents of new regulations that would relax restrictions on drug and medical device makers’ ability to wine and dine doctors are making their point by offering “drinks and lobsters” to folks at the State House today.

Here are details of the event from the advocacy group Health Care For All:

Under the slogan, “Doctors shouldn’t be SHAKEN or STIRRED”, medical students from Harvard Medical School and Boston University School of Medicine will gather at the State House to offer “drinks and lobsters” to anyone on their way to meet with the Governor or other state officials. The message they wish to convey? “The Administration and Department of Public Health (DPH) think that alcohol and fancy meals are conducive to educating medical professionals — it must be good for educating government officials, too.” The group will deliver a sign-on letter to the Governor with signatures from over 100 medical students and other medical professionals urging that the DPH regulations be amended.

Why: This action is in anticipation of the DPH Public Hearing that will take place this Friday, October 19 at 10:00 AM at the Public Health Council Room (2nd Floor, 250 Washington Street, Boston, MA) on new regulations that implement a law passed over the summer to relax state restrictions on meals provided by pharmaceutical and medical device companies to doctors. Under the previous law, meals may not be provided unless in a clinical setting. The amendment permits “modest meals and refreshments” to be offered at educational programs outside of a health care setting, such as a restaurant. The regulation approved ignored the legislative direction to limit permitted meals to those considered modest, and instead defined “modest” as “similar to what a health care practitioner might purchase.

(Photo: Health care For All)

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