Rep. Pete Stark (D-Calif.) introduced legislation that would deny drug companies a tax deduction for gifts given to doctors. "Pharmaceutical companies waste billions of dollars each year on gifts to entice doctors to prescribe their products, and it's all tax deductible," Stark said in a news release. "My bill denies tax deductions to pharmaceutical firms for wasteful spending on perks and potentially illegal kickbacks." Drugmakers spent $13 billion on incentives to doctors in 2001, or $15,000 per physician, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation survey cited in Stark's news release. Stark, speaking at a Medicare conference in Washington, made clear his view of how pharmaceutical companies have excessive influence on Capitol Hill. "The pharmaceutical industry comes in a close second to the tobacco companies," he said. -- by Jeff Tieman and Tony Fong
Stark: Drug firms should pay taxes on gifts to docs
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