Massachusetts could become the first state in the US to require the licensing of pharmaceutical sales representatives, after a proposal by Senator Mark Montigny, Democrat of New Bedford, was passed by the state Senate.

According to a report in the Boston Globe, if the proposal becomes law, sales representatives would be forbidden to provide any entertainment, gifts, payments, or travel to doctors or any other healthcare officials. This could represent a real sea of change for representatives in the USA, as hospitality and educational trips are often a key component of relationships with physicians.

Explaining his reasons behind the proposal, Senator Montigny told The Globe that drug representatives are “subject to less scrutiny than many other professionals who have less potential impact on people’s health.”

But those more sceptical have expressed their concerns over such a move. In a statement, Ken Johnson, Senior Vice President of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, said the proposal would “impose an additional burden on the sharing of new information with physicians,” as it “seeks to impose criminal penalties on what should be viewed as the important sharing of information between pharmaceutical companies and physicians regarding the risks and benefits of medicine.”