The new law bans companies from paying for meals or travel expenses, and its text cited an April Vermont Attorney General report showing that drug manufacturers spent almost $2.94 million on fees, travel expenses and other direct payments for marketing purposes, with physicians receiving about $2.1 million of that total in the states fiscal 2008. Of that, almost $862,000just under 30%was spent on foodwith one individual reporting meals worth almost $15,800.
The prohibition does not apply to free drug samples for patients; distribution of peer-reviewed academic, scientific or clinical articles or journals that serve a genuine educational function; or financial support for medical students, residents and fellows to attend educational or policymaking seminars or conferences. A representative from the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America industry trade group was not available for comment.
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