May 29, 2017 by

North Coast NEWS

By: Geneva Peppars

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Today Senator McGuire’s legislation that restricts pharmaceutical companies from giving gifts and incentives to medical professionals was approved in the Senate.

The legislation, SB 790, severely restricts pharmaceutical companies from providing flights, travel, speaking fees, entertainment, consulting payments, or other financial benefits to health care providers.

“I’ll be the first to say that the vast majority of physicians and medical professionals put the needs of their patients first. There’s a reason why doctors answer the call to practice medicine – to help people in their time of need,” Senator McGuire said. “But growing evidence reveals that financial relationships between some physicians and pharmaceutical companies confirm what has been suspected – financial incentives change minds.”

Doctors who receive industry gifts such as meals, travel, speaking fees and royalties were two to three times likely to prescribe costly name-brand drugs than equivalent generic drugs that were lower priced, according to a recent study by University of California, San Francisco.

Senator McGuire explains the importance of the bill in protecting both patients and tax payers while also lowering the costs of prescription drugs.

“Throughout the state, some of our largest hospitals and medical centers have realized the importance of limiting gifts from the pharma industry to doctors – it’s time the State of California bans these types of gifts and incentives, which will put patients above profits, ” McGuire said.

According to Senator McGuire, data shows that in 2014 California physicians received the highest number of gifts and payments from pharmaceutical companies of any state.

“The facts are clear. Current voluntary efforts are not enough. California physicians and medical professionals lead the nation in the number of gifts taken, over $1.4 billion in 2014.  SB 790 will curb financial payments, gifts and incentives to medical professionals and help drive down the skyrocketing costs of prescription drugs for millions in California,” Senator McGuire said.

SB 790 will now move forward to the Assembly.

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