In the US, the MRA (Marketing Research Association) has won protection for health care researchers in the state of Massachusetts, in the form of an official exemption for research from the Massachusetts Department of Health.
The state's new Marketing Code of Conduct for pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers now states that market research incentives are exempted from its provisions as long as health care practitioners who receive them 'do not know what pharmaceutical or medical device manufacturing company sponsored the research' and the sponsor 'does not know which health care practitioners participated in the study'.
MRA mobilised researchers on the ground in Massachusetts in short order, when on March 11 this year the state's Public Health Council released new regulations banning incentives. Terri-Lynn Hawley, an MRA volunteer and Vice President at Schlesinger Associates in Boston, became an activist for the campaign and comments: 'I really enjoyed working on this. It is something that I was very passionate about and it is nice to see that one really can make a difference.'
MRA also thanked Aurora Choi of Focus Pointe Global, Lloyd Simon of Cambridge Focus, Frank Amelia of Copley Focus Centers, Larry Jenkins of Focus On Boston, Brenda Chartoff of National Field and Focus, Maria Kuschel of Fieldwork Boston, and Jason Miller of Performance Plus for their efforts, among others.
A number of states have introduced similar legislation and threats still remain. In March, the association helped overturn similar proposed legislation in Maryland, Rhode Island and Mississippi. Web site: www.mra-net.org .
All articles 2006-19 written and edited by Mel Crowther and/or Nick Thomas.