AUGUSTA, Maine (Portland Press Herald/AP) — A bill that would curtail gifts, speaking and consulting fees and expensive food flowing from pharmaceutical companies to doctors has passed the Legislature and awaits the signature of Gov. Paul LePage.
Rep. Scott Hamann, D-South Portland, said the goal of the bill is to ensure doctors do not have conflicting interests when prescribing drugs – especially opioids – since Maine is in the midst of an opioid crisis.
The bill would ban cash gifts and noncash gifts where reciprocity is implied. Speaking fees and modest meals at legitimate academic conferences were left untouched under the measure.
Hamann says the proposed law addresses part of Maine's addiction problem by preventing doctors from overprescribing opioids.
Pharmaceutical companies nearly doubled the amount spent on marketing opioids between 2014 and 2015. Medical ethics experts say payments from drug companies can influence prescribing patterns.
The Associated Press contributed to this story