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NJ: Report on physician/industry relationship comes down hard on docs

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.

Two versions of the Report on Physician Compensation Arrangement are available:  The full version and the summarized version.

2 comments

  1. Why would anyone in the US think that this was a good idea? Who does the state government think they are dictating what a physician can do in his or her private practice and what a company chooses to do with it’s money? Every industry has promotional funds and what they do with those funds is there business. If the state govenernment is NJ is trying to tell the public that my physician or any other quality physician is truly making healthcare decisions based on who was the last representative to bring him or her a pizza, a pen, or some other promotional item, then our healthcare system has much bigger problems. Many times a lunch or reminder is giving to simply say thank you, a polite gesture if you ask me. State government please stop trying to take basic liberties from an industry that has done nothing but continue to be the envy of the world, and hard working physicians that put tireless hours tending to their patients and communities. I’m sure there are much more pressing issues in the state to be dealt with.

  2. Great idea. Will our politicians and elected officials agree to the same restrictions from lobbyists? Before the democratic convention in Denver that nominated Obama, a field day was held at Coors Field with many of the Colorado Rockies in attendance giving pointers to Democrats. That field day was hosted by, of all companies, Eli Lilly. I say yes to the proposed restrictions only on the condition that all congressmen and politicians do the same.

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