MA pharma gift ban: down but not out

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A measure to repeal Massachusetts' pharma gift ban failed to make it into a final economic stimulus bill but may yet resurface.

The amendment to completely strike the ban, attached to the house version of the economic development bill, passed in the final weeks of the legislative session but was dropped due to a shortage of senate votes.

A compromise allowing industry to fund doctors' meals at restaurants, and not just hotels and convention centers, also fell one senate vote short.

The issue, however, could resurface in the upcoming session, where healthcare issues are on the agenda. The fear that the ban could cause medical societies to pull their meetings out of Boston is not going away.

So far, only one society has—the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI) canceled a 2015 meeting.

“What we don't know is how many groups have decided to take Massachusetts off the rotation cycle,” said Beth Stehley, VP of sales and convention services for the greater Boston Convention and Visitors Bureau.

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