I applaud state Sen. Sonia Chang-Díaz for voting against repealing the gift ban, which prohibits pharmaceutical companies from wining-and-dining doctors and inducing them to prescribe expensive brand-name prescription drugs. I’m glad to see she understands the importance of upholding the state’s commitment to healthcare cost containment.
Some Massachusetts senators recently offered an amendment to repeal this gift ban.
If passed, this provision would have gutted a critical piece of Massachusetts’ health reform and greatly impacted the state’s ability to control the cost of healthcare. Although the senators argued the gift ban is unbearably crippling profits in the Massachusetts restaurant industry, they offered no real data to prove it. In fact, other senators recognized these lost profits mirror similar recession-caused losses in the restaurant industry across the entire country.
Allowing pharmaceutical companies to sponsor meals for doctors drives up the cost of drugs, and all consumers end up footing the bill. We cannot allow this—an attempt to boost pharmaceutical company profits—to interfere with ensuring affordable, accessible health care for everyone in our commonwealth. Sen. Chang-Díaz’s vote emphasized the need to put proper patient care before profits, and I, for one, couldn’t have afforded any other vote.