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Still No Presents for Doctors

The Wall Street Journal's Health Blog reports that the Massachusetts legislature has upheld a law that restricts pharmaceutical and medical device companies from giving gifts to doctors. The blog's Katherine Hobson says there had been a push in June to have the ban repealed on the grounds that it "had negative economic effects and resulted in perceived hostility to the health-care industry." However, Hobson says, the ban stands. According to the law, industry reps can buy doctors meals only in hospitals, not in restaurants. Companies also have to report any payments they make to doctors of $50 or more and aren't allowed to give them things like pens and notebooks. Research-related payments, Hobson adds, are exempt.