Meal Ban Lifted - Regulations Adopted
The MRA is proud to announce that the pharmaceutical meal ban was lifted this summer as a result of continued advocacy and education. The MRA and its members have been working hard on this repeal for nearly 4 years. This was a grassroots effort of restaurateurs from across the Commonwealth. MRA members have had hundreds of meetings with educated legislators on both sides of the isle about the impacts of this ban. Additionally, members and lobbyists have testified at numerous public hearings held at the State House.
The legislation that was signed by Governor Patrick was made possible thorough the leadership of Senate President Murray and House Speaker DeLeo and the hard work of those legislators who supported the MRA’s position. The law instructed the Department of Public Health to write regulations to implement the law.
The MRA is pleased to report that regulations implementing the meal ban correction were filed with the Secretary of State on November 21st. Restaurants may now collaborate with pharmaceutical and medical device companies to coordinate educational events.
The Public Health Council approved changes to the Pharmaceutical and Medical Device Manufacture code. The regulations define modest meals in the following manner:
Modest Meals and Refreshments, food and/or drinks provided by or paid for by a pharmaceutical or medical device manufacturing company or agent to a health care practitioner that, as judged by local standards, are similar to what a health care practitioner might purchase when dining at his or her own expense.
The MRA applauds the efforts of Governor Patrick’s administration for filing regulations that will uphold the legislative intent of allowing restaurants to again host educational meetings. Doctors often are faced with high demands and busy schedules; restaurants allow physicians to interact in a private location, removed from the distractions of the office.
Restaurants are not subject to any reporting requirements. The pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturing companies will be required to file quarterly reports that include:
(a) the location of the presentation;
(b) a description of any pharmaceutical products, medical devices or other products discussed at such presentation;
(c) the total amount expended on the presentation
(d) an estimate of the amount expended per participant, factoring any meals, refreshments or other items of economic value provided at such presentation.
This is great news for our industry. The meal prohibition was devastating to restaurants and thousands of middle-class employees.
The MRA wishes to thank Senate President Therese Murray and Speaker Robert DeLeo, the conference committee members and those legislators that made this proposal a priority including Representative Aaron Michlewitz and Senator Anthony Pertrucelli who had sponsored legislation on our behalf. We would also like to thank Governor Deval Patrick who signed this legislation into law despite pressures from outside groups to veto it.