The Vermont attorney general is investigating the extent to which drug and device makers may have violated state law by giving gifts or payments for other items to health care providers, according to a source familiar with the matter.
The state banned industry gift giving to health care providers eight years ago over concerns such payments may influence medical practice, a contentious issue that later led the federal government to create a database to which drug and device makers must report any payments to physicians and teaching hospitals.
However, a check of the federal OpenPayments database shows that, in 2016, companies gave more $2,200 in gifts, $173,400 in travel, and $54,400 in food and beverage. Larger amounts were reported in 2015. All three items are among the various forms of payment that are banned under state law, which prohibits providing food, entertainment, travel, or anything else of value, although exemptions exist.