Yesterday, An Act To Prohibit Certain Gifts to Health Care Practitioners became law in Maine without the signature of the Governor. 32 MRSA § 13759 prohibits licensed pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers and wholesalers from providing a gift to a practitioner. Exceptions include:

  1. noncash items of minimal value that directly benefit the practitioner’s patients, including: (i) prescription drug samples for distribution to patients; (ii) educational materials; and (iii) modest meals and refreshments provided to a practitioner in connection with a meeting or presentation regarding the benefits, risks and appropriate uses of prescription drugs or medical devices, disease states or other scientific information that occurs in a venue and manner conductive to information communication;
  2. funding to academic institutions and residency and fellowship programs to support medical, nursing, physician assistant, veterinarian and pharmacy students, residents and fellows in professional and educational meetings, as long as the program identifies the funding recipients based on independent institutional criteria and the funds are distributed to recipients without specific attribution to sponsors; and
  3. reasonable honoraria and expenses of a practitioner at a professional or educational conference or meeting.

Rules implementing this new legislation are anticipated, and we will provide an update when any such rules are made available.