It's down to the wire for Massachusetts Health Care Reform, and a corsortium of drug company interests is playing hardball to influence the Governor, as covered in today's Boston Globe here. Truth is not on their agenda.
In this full-page ad in yesterday's Globe, the companies urged Governor Deval Patrick to veto the bill known as S. 2863. The ad is filled with so many inaccuracies that it's hard to know where to begin.
1. "The legislation that awaits Governor Patrick's decision will significantly curtail, if not end altogether, the availability of these last hope clinical trials in Massachusetts."
False. Actually, the legislation explicitly protects all biopharmaceutical research: “The marketing code of conduct adopted by the department shall allow:… 4) compensation for the substantial professional or consulting services of a health care practitioner in connection with a genuine research project or a clinical trial.” ( S. 2863 Chapter 111N, Section 2)
2. "The legislation...will have a direct and immediate devastating impact on the lives of thousands of people across the Commonwealth."
False. There will be little, if any impact, largely because the partial gift ban included in the bill is the same ban the pharmaceutical industry just adopted for itself as an ethical code. Unless, that is, these companies have already been making strategic plans to flaunt their own self-imposed regulations.
The Boston Globe itself is not fooled, and the paper strongly supports the legislation in today's editorial. You can also read more details about the misinformation in the ad here, in the Prescription Project's excellent blog, Postscript.
On a more personal note, I recall having attended one of the Governor's early fundraising events in 2005, soon after he announced his candidacy. It was at the Grog in Newburyport, and Patrick gave an electrifying speech, emphasizing truth and transparency in government. Given his commitment to the welfare of the people, I am confident that he will do the right thing by signing S. 2863 into law.