Are Mass. lawmakers 'anti-biopharmaceutical'?

After coming up with a billion-dollar program to encourage the growth of the state's biotech industry, you'd think that BIO and the biopharma biz would be giving great bear hugs to Massachusetts lawmakers. Instead, GSK wrote a letter to the governor castigating the bill for demonstrating "a strong anti-biopharmaceutical streak." And BIO complained that the bill included a provision that threatened research as well as patient treatment.

The target of all this ire? A provision that bans any and all gifts from a drug company to a physician. That's any and all, as in free lunches, trips to swanky resorts or even cheap pens with company logos on them.

Nonsense, replied state senator Mark Montigny. Lawmakers felt that the gifts--which don't include drug samples--encouraged the use of expensive branded drugs without really benefiting patients.

- read the AP report

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