(Glastonbury, Conn.): The New Mexico State Senate recently defeated a bill which would have required the public reporting of incentives paid to health care professionals for participation in marketing research studies sponsored by pharmaceutical, medical device or medical supply manufacturers. After MRA reached out to legislators, the legislation, S.B. 99, was defeated on the floor of the state Senate by a vote of 24 – 16.

Research incentives to doctors have been (usually inadvertently) caught up in ongoing attempts at the state level to restrict “gifts” to physicians from pharmaceutical, medical device and medical supply manufacturers. Such “gifts” are assumed to be buying influence on behalf of the manufacturers.

LaToya Lang, MRA’s State Legislative Director, commented, “the only influence sought through these kinds of marketing research incentives is to influence a difficult to reach but highly important audience of respondents to participate in research. We applaud the efforts of the State Senate to protect this vital form of research.”

S.B. 99 would have required survey and opinion researchers to publicly report (via the sponsoring pharmaceutical, medical device or medical supply manufacturer) the amount that they expend on physician incentives above $25.00. The bill did not specify whether the release of physician-identifiable information would have been required, but the implications of reporting would still have been detrimental to survey and opinion research. Simple state requirements for aggregate reporting have already driven pharmaceutical companies away from doing almost any research with doctors in affected states, for fear of public scorn or worse.

According to Lang, “MRA will continue to aggressively confront legislation like S.B. 99 across the country that threatens the viability of marketing research.”