Mass. Bill Would Lift Gift Ban; Workers Rally In Md., Minn.
Boston Globe: "A two-year-old state ban on gifts in the medical and pharmaceutical industries would be repealed under an economic development bill that the House budget committee began polling its members on yesterday. The ban, which prohibits drug firms from giving gifts and meals to health care professionals, has cut back on local business profits, a summary of the bill states. When it passed as part of a broader health care bill in 2008, supporters called it a way of curbing pharmaceutical companies' influence" (O'Sullivan, 6/25).
Boston Business Journal: "Supporters of the gift ban say that eliminating industry-sponsored dinners and other gifts to doctors removes any undue influence over which drugs or devices are prescribed. But industry executives say it creates tremendous red tape in the form of reporting requirements, and squelches innovation by inhibiting doctors from providing advice on the usage and safety of their products. Some doctors have also complained that the ban restricts their opportunities to participate in training on new devices" (Donnelly, 6/24).
The Associated Press/Los Angeles Times: "Minnesota nurses in an ongoing dispute over staffing and pension issues with 14 hospitals in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area plan to file a formal strike notice. The Minnesota Nurses Association said late Thursday that it will file the 10-day strike notice on Friday. The union must do that before beginning an open-ended strike that nurses approved Monday" (6/24).
Baltimore Business Journal: Members of Baltimore's largest health care union rallied Thursday "in hopes of raising wages for caregivers and improving living conditions across the city." They were joined by Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and actor Danny Glover. The health care workers also want "free and fair" union elections, they say (Mullin, 6/24).