2011 - 2012 Session Recap

The Massachusetts Legislature voted on some important issues for the biotechnology industry in the 2011-2012 session. Here’s a recap of their decisions on co-pay assistance, sales and marketing disclosure (also known as the “gift ban”), and payment reform:

Fiscal Year 2013 Budget

On July 8, 2012, Governor Deval Patrick signed into law the Fiscal Year 2013 budget, which includes language that allows Massachusetts residents to take advantage of co-payment assistance programs. Up to that point, Massachusetts was the only state in the nation that banned these programs. The budget also includes language to allow certain interactions between companies and physicians that had been barred under the “gift ban” previously enacted.

The details: FY 2013 Budget – H4200

1. Co-pay assistance – Sections 128, 129, 130, 131, 201 and 226
Allows co-pay assistance programs and discount programs to be used in Massachusetts for prescription drugs and biologics for which no chemically identical generic drug exists.

2. Sales and Marketing Disclosure – Sections 108-114
Permits pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers to pay for “modest meals and refreshments” outside of the practitioner’s office or hospital setting in connection with non-CME educational presentations for the purpose of informing practitioners about prescription drugs, medical devices, disease states or other scientific information.

Payment Reform: Chapter 224

On August 6, 2012, the Governor signed into law payment reform legislation which ensures patient access to breakthrough technologies and treatment.  The key components of the law include:

1. Breakthrough technologies  – Section 15(c)(3)

2. Advisory Council to the Health Policy Commission – Section 4

3. Cost Containment Commission – Section 273(a) and (c)

4. Bulk purchasing – Section 273(b)

The details: Payment Reform –Chapter 224



About MassBio

MassBio is a not-for-profit organization committed to advancing Massachusetts' leadership in the life sciences to grow the industry, add value to the healthcare system and improve patient lives.

Founded in 1985, MassBio represents over 650 biotechnology companies, academic institutions, research hospitals, and service organizations involved in life sciences and health care, and works to advance policy and promote education, while providing member programs and events, industry information, and services.

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