Philly ban on pharma industry gifts, dinners to doctors falls short in City Council vote

This photo shows an arrangement of pills of the opioid oxycodone-acetaminophen in New York. (Patrick Sison/AP Photo)

This photo shows an arrangement of pills of the opioid oxycodone-acetaminophen in New York. (Patrick Sison/AP Photo)

Philadelphia City Councilmembers overwhelmingly voted against a bill some claimed could help with the opioid crisis. But pharmaceutical company reps argued it would cost jobs locally.

The bill failed by a 9 to 5 margin. It would have prohibited pharmaceutical companies sales reps from providing meals and gifts to physicians when they talk about potentially addictive prescription drugs that most often can lead to an overdose.

Chris Molineaux of the industry group Life Sciences Pennsylvania said doctors don’t overprescribe pain pills for a free meal.

“The idea that meals influence the prescribing behavior is not only insulting to physicians it’s insulting at its face.”

Dr. Patrick Brennan, Chief Medical Officer of the University of Pennsylvania Health System said his staff already are banned from accepting meals.

“Decades of study have made it clear that meetings between doctors and sales reps lead to changes to the ways physicians prescribe medications… Why would it be different about opioid prescribing.”

Restaurant owners have also complained it will be bad for business because it would lead to fewer meals.

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