A pharmaceutical trade group has rated Massachusetts the worst state in which to pursue sales and marketing for the industry, in part because of a new law restricting the activities of sales representatives.
The National Association of Pharmaceuticals Sales Representatives said the new law, intended to help contain health care costs, will act to limit research and product-development initiatives and hamper innovation.
As residents of the Bay State, we here at Prescription Access Litigation wonder what we did to deserve this honor.
Now, what horrific restrictions on “research and product-development initiatives” does the new law impose on the industry?
It requires all pharmaceutical companies to disclose payments they make to health care providers that exceed $50. It requires the state Department of Public Health to establish a statewide code of conduct on marketing and gifts to health care providers. And it creates an evidence-based outreach and education program for prescribers.
That’s it. It doesn’t ban anything, prohibit anything, restrict anything. All it does is require disclosure of gifts to doctors. THAT’s what makes Massachusetts the worst state to pursue pharmaceuticalsales and marketing?
The National Association of Pharmaceuticals Sales Representatives must have forgotten all about the $1 billion gift that the taxpayers of this “worst state” just dropped in their lap back in June, the Massachusetts Life Sciences Initiative:
Governor Patrick signing the Mass. Life Sciences Initiative bill
The $1 billion will go to improve the “life sciences” infrastructure in Massachusetts, including tax incentives, grants, fellowships and other programs to promote research and workforce development that will certainly be beneficial to many of the pharmaceutical and biotech companies doing business in the state.
Here’s what Health Care for All, a PAL coalition member and key supporter of the legislation, had to say back in September about pharma’s warning threat that drug and biotech companies would leave the state in response to the law:
Do you remember this phrase: “a direct and immediate devastating impact?” That’s from the full-page ad the biotech industry took out trying to convince the Governor to veto the comprehensive quality and cost bill, that included enforcement of the pharmaceutical and device industry’s own voluntary guidelines. You might also remember the letter from GlaxoSmithKline, threatening to leave the state if the law was passed.
Those of us that support the gift ban thought it was an empty threat at the time – particularly in light of the fact that the state had just pledged $1 billion to the industry.
And, it looks like we were right.
Monday, Governor Patrick will join Genzyme officials to open a $125 million science center, part of $250 million cell culture manufacturing facility. On Tuesday, UMass-Lowell will open its fully automated Massachusetts BioManufacturing Center facility. And last week, a study co-sponsored by the UMass Donahue Institute found that 85% of life sciences employers in the state actually plan to expand their in-state operations over the next two years.
But in NAPSR’s world, a modest disclosure requirement warrants a designation as the worst state in the nation, notwithstanding the $1 billion we just ponied up. Talk about ingratitude!