AMA contends the PDRP program will allow the practice of selling drug prescribing data only for those physicians who have no objections. However, it is not just the AMA member physicians who reject the selling of their practice information. State legislators in four states have introduced legislation to ban the practice entirely, a move that the AMA is strongly against. In New Hampshire, House Bill 1346 was approved unanimously by the State Senate after similar approval by the State House and was signed by the Governor June 30. It became effective immediately. The bill allows for the use of prescribing data for research and public health purposes, but bans the use for marketing purposes (see highlights from the bill text, right).
Explore This IssueAugust 2006
But Dr. Wetmore said the AMA’s opt-out program may not be enough. Providing an opt-out provision is insufficient if we are not informed of the use of the pharmacy data, he said. Dr. Wetmore wishes the West Virginia legislature had acted on that state’s proposed bill that died in committee. I am sorry that the law to protect the privacy of this information did not pass the West Virginia Legislature this past year. It is an invasion of my privacy if drug companies or drug benefit managers use prescribing information, even if patient identifiers are not included, he added.
Physician support for changes in the law and for the new program ultimately comes down to privacy. I am not a big prescriber of drugs in my practice, but I totally agree that what I do in this regard as an otolaryngologist should be private, said Phillip Daspit, MD, an otolaryngologist-head and neck surgeon in Phoenix, Ariz. I should definitely have the ability to tell a drug company that they have no right to know what drugs I prescribe in my practice, he said. Dr. Daspit supports a bill introduced in the Arizona legislature earlier this year. That bill, HB 2800 that failed to be voted out of committee, would make the release or sale of confidential prescription information an act of unprofessional conduct. Likewise, Dr. Daspit said he intends to sign up for the AMA opt-out program even though his information is limited.
I feel that it is an invasion of privacy to allow pharmaceutical companies to use doctor’s prescribing information. This information should not be sold or made available to pharmacy benefit management companies. – -Stephen Wetmore, MD, MBA