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California bill would ban drug company gifts to doctors

The California Senate passed a bill Thursday that would ban drug companies from giving gifts to doctors.

Sen. Mike McGuire said his bill prohibiting perks such as airline tickets and lavish meals would lower drug costs in part because doctors who receive such gifts are more likely to prescribe expensive drugs.

The Senate voted 23-13 to send the bill to the Assembly.

Drug companies spend more than $1.4 billion a year on gifts to California doctors, said McGuire, a Democrat who represents a district west of Sacramento.

"While we have witnessed the cost of drugs rise over the past decade, industry profits have also grown significantly," McGuire said....