Maryland Legislators Consider Banning Physician Gifts Following Stent Investigations

Maryland legislators are considering a bill that would ban companies from providing physicians and other healthcare providers gifts following allegations that cardiologists in the state have been "indirectly influenced" to perform unnecessary heart stent procedures as a result of relationships with stent-makers, according to a Baltimore Sun report.

It's unclear at this time how the legislation would define "gift," but recently enacted laws in Vermont and Massachusetts prohibit most meals, trips and even trinkets, according to the report. The Maryland legislation is expected to be introduced later this week.

State officials are currently investigating the practices of a number of cardiologists in the state who performed stent procedures at higher than expected rates to determine if any of the devices were implanted unnecessarily.

The investigation stems from an internal investigation by St. Joseph Medical Center in Towson, Md., which discovered that Mark G. Midei, MD, a cardiologist at the hospital, may have performed more than 500 unnecessary stent procedures. Dr. Midei received more than $37,000 from stent-maker Abbott Laboratories for serving as a consultant before and after his time at St. Joseph. 

Read the Baltimore Sun report on Maryland legislation banning gifts to physicians.

Read more coverage on Dr. Mark Midei:

- Maryland Committee Investigating Stents to Release Report by End of Month

Maryland Cardiologist Accused of Performing Unnecessary Stents Sues Hospital

Investigation by Maryland Officials Alleges Several Cardiologists in the State Performed Stent Procedures at Suspiciously High Rates

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