(St. Paul, MN) The U.S. survey and research profession testified today before a joint hearing in the Minnesota House and Senate. The Marketing Research Association’s (MRA) Director of Government Affairs, Howard Fienberg, PLC, defended the use of physician incentives in pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturing.

“Thanks to a vaguely-crafted law and mis-guided interpretations, Minnesota is a dead zone for pharmaceutical marketing research with health care practitioners,” Howard testified. “The legislation being considered, H.F. 1641, would shift the regulatory authority and expand that dead zone to medical device research.”

The Minnesota House Commerce & Labor Committee and Senate Business, Jobs, & Industry Committee held a joint hearing January 25, 2010, on H.F. 1641 and two other pharmaceutical-related bills. Howard represented the research profession and its interests in testimony at the hearing, as part of his role as the industry’s U.S. lobbyist.

Pharmaceutical marketing research incentives have been prohibited in Minnesota. Even a change that would allow such payments to practitioners but require them to be publicly reported would not likely change the status quo for research. Pharmaceutical and medical device companies have stopped doing research in states with even the most rudimentary reporting requirements.

To date, the only exception has been Massachusetts, where MRA won an explicit exclusion for marketing research in regulations last year.

MRA also continues to lobby on the Physician Payments Sunshine Act at the federal level.