While Congress is in the process of further complicating the practice of medicine, the state of New Jersey has decided to blame the docs in an effort to restrict industry compensation.
The state’s Attorney General has issued a report of recommendations to “ensure that patient care is always guided by the unbiased, best judgments of the treating doctor.” The inference is that the physicians are at fault for accepting gifts, however, pharmaceutical companies, etc., are excused from offering those gifts in the first place. The Medical Society of New Jersey issued a response to the report saying “New Jersey is the only state in the nation that chooses to regulate tens of thousands of individuals and allow large companies to escape scrutiny.”
That’s true. The report itself says that several other states impose restrictions on industry, but “no state has imposed such requirements on physicians. The imposition of such obligations on physicians is a critical element of the initiative to impose principled standards on the relationships between doctors and industry.”
So what are some of the recommendations? Of course, it begins with food. The state wants to “prohibit physicians and physician in-office staff from accepting food from manufacturers, whether in-office, at health care facilities or in commercial venues,” as such meals provide no direct benefit to patients. While that may be true, why not prevent the meal from being delivered? The state seems to be ok with drug reps ordering the food, but they have a problem with the physicians accepting the offer. Same with promotional gifts and pharma-sponsored CMEs. The report does allow for continued use of samples as well as some industry participation in educational events.