AMA said it supports this data profiling because it can be used to detect drug diversion, target promotional and marketing materials, and distribute pertinent drug samples and educational materials to physicians. Absent specific prescribing data, pharmaceutical companies would likely market products and deliver drug samples by geographic location and practice specialty, resulting in irrelevant sales calls and product samples, said information on the Prescribing Data Information Center listed on the AMA Web site. This center includes information on what the AMA considers responsible use of prescribing data by HIOs and drug companies. The AMA has also developed guidelines for industry on the use of physician data.
Explore This IssueAugust 2006
In addition to allowing individual physicians the opportunity to opt out of pharmacy data sharing, the new AMA program also gives physicians the opportunity to register complaints against a company or individual who has used the information inappropriately. The AMA will take appropriate action on behalf of the physician based on specifics of the complaint, said the association.
AMA tells Pharma to Heal Thyself Before the Government Does
Part of our role is to help the pharmaceutical industry understand that its representatives are not following guidelines on discussions with physicians and are alienating the people they are reaching out to, said Mr. Musacchio. He said the AMA plans to work with the pharmaceutical industry to improve relationships and best practices before state legislators make the practice of information sharing illegal.
Physician support for changes in the law and for the new program ultimately comes down to privacy.
The New Hampshire legislation is unnecessary, but I can’t blame them for going ahead with the legislation because the opt-out program was not in place, he said. The AMA has strongly opposed state legislation, although state physician groups such as the New Hampshire Medical Society have supported it.
In addition to New Hampshire, West Virginia, and Arizona, Hawaii lawmakers have also introduced legislation banning the practice. The legal basis varies by state. West Virginia’s HB 4676 would make the sale of prescription information a violation of fair trade practices. Hawaii’s HB 1873 was approved by the State House but failed in the State Senate. It would prohibit the sale or transfer of patient prescription information as an unfair and deceptive act in the conduct of trade or commerce.
New Hampshire Law
Prescription Information to be Kept Confidential-Records relative to prescription information containing patient-identifiable and prescriber-identifiable data shall not be licensed, transferred, used, or sold by any pharmacy benefits manager, insurance company, electronic transmission intermediary, retail, mail order, or Internet pharmacy or other similar entity, for any commercial purpose, except for the limited purposes of pharmacy reimbursement; formulary compliance; care management; utilization review by a health care provider, the patient’s insurance provider, or the agent of either; health care research; or as otherwise provided by law. Commercial purpose includes, but is not limited to, advertising, marketing, promotion, or any activity that could be used to influence sales or market share of a pharmaceutical product, influence or evaluate the prescribing behavior of an individual health care professional, or evaluate the effectiveness of a professional pharmaceutical detailing sales force.