INTRODUCED/AMENDED LEGISLATION

Physician Incentives
CO - Sen. Carroll (D) introduced and subsequently withdrew the Prescription Drug Ethics Act (S.B. 166), which would have prohibited a manufacturer or wholesale drug, biological product or medical or surgical device distributor who participates in a state health program from offering a gift, fee, payment, subsidy or other economic benefit to a health care practitioner. The legislation had explicitly included market research survey incentives. Although it was withdrawn, MRA expects the Act to reemerge during the 2009-2010 Colorado legislative session.

CT – Rep. Brian Hurlburt (D) introduced H.B. 5291, which would require pharmaceutical manufacturing and marketing companies to annually report on all gifts, including, but not limited to, payments, fees, meals, travel subsidies or other economic benefits, provided to healthcare providers that have value in excess of $10. The bill does not provide any further information, but MRA considers HB 5291 a priority to amend or kill.

CT – The Joint Committee on Public Health has introduced S.B. 1049, which would prohibit “pharmaceutical or medical device manufacturing companies from providing any food or beverage, travel, lodging or other personal expenses at professional meetings …to any healthcare provider.” S.B. 1049 also would require reporting on items provided to healthcare providers above $1,000. The report specifically requires the name, address and institutional affiliation of the healthcare provider and a description of the reason for such payment above $1,000. Though the threshold payment of this legislation is significantly higher than what has been seen in other states, MRA has been in contact with the Joint Committee on Public Health, and considers this bill a serious threat.

IA - Rep. Heaton (R) has introduced H.B. 547, which would require a member of the medical assistance pharmaceutical and therapeutics committee or a member of the medical assistance drug utilization review commission to disclose to the department of human services any financial relationship or affiliation with a pharmaceutical manufacturer, including but not limited to any payments or contributions for lectures, consulting, research or other services. The members are to disclose the information in a format and in accordance with a schedule prescribed by rule of the department of human services. Given some similarities to the new regulations in Massachusetts, MRA is concerned that research incentives will be included by this legislation, and MRA has already been in contact with the sponsor to express our concerns.

MD - The House Health and Government Operations Committee introduced and subsequently withdrew H.B. 1477, which would have required manufacturers to report the value, nature and purpose of any gift, fee, payment, subsidy or other economic benefit valued above $25 provided in connection with detailing, promotion or marketing activities in the state by a manufacturer, either directly or through agents, to an authorized prescriber. MRA had been in contact with the Committee, and expects to the see this legislation reemerge in the 2009-2010 Maryland legislative session.

MN - Rep. Liebling (DFL) has introduced H.B. 1641 and Sen. Marty (DFL) has introduced S.B. 1237. These identical companion bills would ban outright all gifts from drug and medical device manufacturers or distributors and their agents to physicians and formulary committee members. H.B. 1641 and S.B. 1237 offer a few exemptions, including, “(4) compensation for the substantial professional or consulting services of a practitioner in connection with a genuine research project that has the potential of advancing medical care or establishing an improved understanding of the safety, performance or improvement in clinical outcomes of a drug or medical device.” While this exemption could possibly exempt market research incentives, MRA has been in contact with the sponsors to ensure a more explicit exemption. This effort is in tandem with our advocacy before the State Board of Pharmacy.

NV - Sen. Woodhouse (D) has introduced S.B. 211, which would require wholesalers and manufacturers who are licensed by the Board of Pharmacy to file with the Board an annual report disclosing certain gifts and other economic benefits that the wholesaler or manufacturer has provided to certain persons. The annual report would require trade secret information to be reported, but not disclosed to the public (an exemption of which researchers might be able to take advantage). S.B. 211 would also require a wholesaler or manufacturer to: (1) include in its annual report the name of each person to whom it provides economic benefits whose aggregate value exceeds $1,000; and (2) notify the person before the value of the economic benefits provided to him exceeds that amount. A compilation of the annual reports (excluding trade secrets) would be made available to the public on the Web. MRA has been in contact with the sponsor and considers this a high priority matter.

NY - Assemblyman Burling (R) has introduced A.B. 6615 and Sen. Maziarz (R) has introduced S.B. 3217. These identical bills would require pharmaceutical drug manufacturers and wholesalers to annually report to the New York Department of Health, for disclosure to the general public, all of their gifts to healthcare practitioners that prescribe drugs, when such gifts have a value of $75 or more. MRA has already been in contact with the sponsors to express our serious concerns.

NY – Sen. Monserrate (D) has introduced S.B. 3156, which would require pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers to disclose gifts of $75 or more to healthcare providers. This bill has a good chance of moving, since Sen. Monserrate is chairman of the committee to which S.N. 3156 has been referred. MRA has already contacted the sponsor and is in extensive communication with the committee.

OR – Sen. Bates (D) has introduced S.B. 845, which would prohibit pharmaceutical manufacturing companies from providing gifts in conjunction with the marketing of prescription drugs. A pharmaceutical marketer is defined as a “person who, while employed by or under contract to represent a pharmaceutical manufacturing company, engages in detailing, promotional or other marketing activities of prescription drugs in this state to any physician, hospital, nursing home, pharmacist, health benefit plan administrator or other person authorized to prescribe or dispense prescription drugs in this state.” S.B. 845 includes an exemption for which market research incentives might qualify: “(b) Payment of reasonable compensation and reimbursement of expenses for bona fide research activities.” MRA has contacted the sponsor of this bill and considers it a high priority.

RI – Rep. Sullivan (D) and Sen. Miller introduced and subsequently withdrew the Prescription Drug and Medical Device Marketing Restriction and Disclosure Act (H.B. 5645 and S.B. 707). These identical bills would have prohibited manufacturers from providing gifts to healthcare professionals including for marketing survey research purposes and would also have required annual gift reporting. Though ill-conceived so far, MRA expects to see similar legislation introduced during Rhode Island’s 2009-2010 legislative session.

Telephone
Privacy Policies
Congress – Rep. Robert Scott (D-VA 03) introduced the Preventing Harassment through Outbound Number Enforcement (PHONE) Act (H.R. 1110), which would outlaw the provision of “false caller ID information with intent wrongfully to obtain anything of value; or ... caller ID information pertaining to an actual person or other entity without that person’s or entity's consent and with intent to deceive any person or other entity about the identity of the caller.” MRA always recommends researchers strive for “truth in caller ID,” and H.R. 1110's restrictions should pose no impediment to legitimate survey and opinion research practices.

Congress – Rep. Eliot L. Engel (D-NY 17) introduced the Truth in Caller ID Act (H.R. 1258), which would make it “unlawful for any person within the United States ... to cause any caller identification service to transmit misleading or inaccurate caller identification information, with the intent to defraud or cause harm.” MRA always recommends researchers strive for "truth in caller ID," and H.R. 1258's restrictions should pose no impediment to legitimate survey and opinion research practices.

Sales
Telephone Solicitation/Do Not Call
CT - Sen. Doyle (D) introduced S.B. 199, which was subsequently defeated in committee. This bill would have allowed small businesses to include their telephone numbers on the State do not call list. There would not have been any implications for survey research since survey research does not involve sales-related activity.

MO - Rep. LeVota (D) introduced H.B. 732, which would amend the state telemarketing no-call list to prohibit calls using an automatic dialing announcing device that delivers recorded messages. The legislation would specifically exempt survey and opinion research, and MRA has officially endorsed H.B. 732.

MO - Rep. Pearce (R) has introduced S.B. 43 (combined with a previously reported pre-filed bill of S.B. 65), which would allow cell phones to be included on the state telemarketing no-call list and prohibit calls using an automatic dialing announcing device that deliver recorded messages. The legislation would specifically exempt survey and opinion research, and MRA has officially endorsed S.B. 43.

NY - Assemblyman Cymbrowitz (D) has introduced A.B. 4157, which would allow individuals to register their fax numbers with the state do not call registry. This bill would have no negative implications for survey and opinion research.

NY - Assemblyman Gianaris (D) has introduced A.B. 5231 (similar to S.B. 1467), which would prohibit telemarketers from making unsolicited sales calls to existing customers whose names and telephone numbers appear on the no telemarketing sales calls registry, unless the call relates to an existing contract, to an offer to renew an existing contract or to the payment of a debt pursuant to an existing contract. Survey and opinion research is not included in the scope of the state do not call law.

NY - Senator Robach (R) has introduced S.B. 1467 (similar to A.B. 5231), which would prohibit telemarketers from making unsolicited sales calls to existing customers whose names and telephone numbers appear on the no telemarketing sales calls registry, unless the call relates to an existing contract, to an offer to renew an existing contract, or to the payment of a debt pursuant to an existing contract. There are no negative implications for survey and opinion research.

OK – Rep. Morgan (D) has introduced H.B. 2050, which would amend the state do not call law to include business lines and prohibit the unlawful “unsolicited electronic and telephonic” transmission to a fax in violation of the Consumer Protection Act. Although the legislation does not define “unsolicited electronic and telephonic,” the scope of the bill and the state do not call law do not apply to survey and opinion research.

OK - Sen. Brown (R) has introduced S.B. 413, which would amend the Telemarketer Restriction Act to include businesses, partnerships, corporations and other business entities in the state do not call registry. The state do not call registry applies only to sales-related calls and does not include survey and opinion research.

PA - Rep. Cox (R) has introduced H.B. 273, which would amend the state do not call registration period of five years until the consumer no longer reserves the telephone number. Pennsylvania’s do not call law has no negative implications for survey and opinion research.

TN - Rep. Hill (R) has introduced H.B. 913 and Sen. Bunch (R) has introduced S.B. 1232. These identical bills would add businesses to the state do not call registry. There are no negative implications for survey and opinion research.

WV - Rep. Talbott (D) has introduced H.B. 2290, which would create a state telemarketing do not call list. The legislation imposes a registration fee of $10 per number for a registration period of three years. Although the legislation does not define telephone solicitation, it clearly seeks to regulate telemarketers. MRA will contact the sponsor to clarify the intent, but does not expect any implications for survey and opinion research.

Faxes/E-mail
PA - Rep. Reichley (R) has introduced H.B. 861, which would amend the Unsolicited Telecommunication Advertisement Act to prohibit unsolicited or misleading commercial or electronic mail messages and facsimiles. Since survey and opinion research is not sales–related, this legislation should not impact research.

Text Messages
Congress - Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-GA 11) introduced the Stop M-Spam Abuse as a Sales Industry Habit (SMASH) Act (H.R. 1391), which would prevent the sending of “any electronic commercial message containing an unsolicited advertisement” to a cellular phone number listed on the Do Not Call Registry. Because legitimate survey and opinion research contacts would not be considered as advertising, H.R. 1391 should have a negligible impact on the research profession.

Junk Mail
FL - Rep. Brandenburg (D) has introduced H.B. 781, which would require the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to establish and maintain a state-wide do not mail registry for consumers who do not wish to receive direct-mail marketing solicitations. Direct-mail marketing is defined as “any mailing that contains solicitations for the sale of goods or services and is directed to a consumer at the consumer’s residence within this state by personal mail delivery to the consumer at his or her residence.” Since survey and opinion research is not sales-related in nature, H.B. 781 should pose no threat to the research profession.

WITHDRAWN/DEFEATED LEGISLATION (previously reported in legislative updates)

Physician Incentives
MD-S.B. 196 was withdrawn.
MS-H.B. 811 was withdrawn.
NM-S.B. 99 failed.

Push Polls
MS-H.B. 650 failed.

Political Calls
MS-S.B. 2475 failed.

Spam
VA-H.B. 1796 failed.

Telephone Solicitation/Do Not Call
MS-H.B. 113 failed.
MS-H.B. 213 failed.
MS-S.B. 2334 failed.