A state lawmaker wants to prevent pharmaceutical companies from using expensive gifts to influence doctors.  Legislation from State Representative Marlin Schneider (D-Wisconsin Rapids) would make it illegal for pharmaceutical companies to offer gifts to physicians.  The Wisconsin Rapids Democrat says the industry spends billions of dollars each year trying to influence doctors, and bias them towards their products.  Schneider says the practice of giving doctors free meals or expensive gifts means consumers pay a higher price.

Tom Moore with the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America says bill is not needed, because the industry has already taken steps to stop the behavior with its own guidelines.  Moore says a proposed $10,000 fine included in the bill is excessive, when compared to smaller fines for much more serious offenses. 

The bill is currently awaiting action from a legislative committee.

AUDIO: Andrew Beckett reports (MP3 1:02)

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