Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick is in a jam. (AP photo)

He’s been busy courting biotech and Big Pharma with tax breaks and grants to build their businesses in the Bay State. But the state legislature has been antagonizing the same companies with proposals that would monkey with how they sell their products.

Now industry lobbyists are leaning hard on Patrick to kill a bill that would clamp down on drugmakers’ gifts and meals to doctors, the Boston Globe reports. Health-care legislation that passed the state Senate and House last week would require companies to report to the state any payment or gift of more than $50. The state, in turn, would post the info on a Web site for all to see.

Industry groups, claiming a “chilling effect,” have “sent letters and e-mails, placed phone calls, and issued ‘action alerts’ encouraging their tens of thousands of members to contact the governor’s office,” the Globe writes.

The biotech trade group BIO, which named Patrick Governor of the Year in June, was one of six organizations that took out a full-page ad in the Globe saying the legislation would “demonize an industry and the thousands of professionals that comprise it.”

Earlier this year when legislation that would have banned gifts to doctors was in the works, GlaxoSmithKline’s bigwig Chris Viehbacher sent letters to Massachusetts politicians decrying the move: “I must express my concern - and even alarm - about a strong anti-biopharmaceutical streak that seems to run through the Massachusetts political establishment.” The implication, the Boston Herald reported, was that Glaxo might not invest as much in Massachusetts if things didn’t turn around.