Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Courts Refuse to Challenge Anti-Data-Mining Legislation

A bit of breaking news on a topic we have not looked at for some time, courtesy the Prescription Project.

Two bills, from Vermont and New Hampshire, that would restrict medical information companies from using physicians' prescription data and selling the data to drug companies to assist with marketing (as when the drug rep goes into the doc's office knowing exactly how many prescriptions the doc has written for the company's drug and all competitor drugs), have been essentially on hold as the court system decided what to do about them. The U.S. Supreme Court has now refused to review the New Hampshire law; and a New York federal court has refused to issue an injunction against the Vermont law, which goes into effect tomorrow.

The laws basically hold that physicians' prescription data are confidential and you cannot sell them without the physicians' permission. The rulings are a defeat for the pharmaceutical industry which relies heavily on these data sources--not to mention the commercial outfits that sell the data for megabucks. Prescription Project offers a fact sheet on the data mining issue at: http://www.prescriptionproject.org/solutions/rrf?id=0001.


Dan said...

Pharmacies sell prescribing data, also known as prescriber-identifiable data, to the pharmaceutical industry’s providers of this information. This is known as, ‘data mining.’

The two largest data mining companies are IMS and Verispan in this 2 billion dollar a year data mining industry.

The data on individual prescribers is purchased from the American Medical Association. As a result, this association receives between 40 and 50 billion dollars a year, which is nearly 20 percent of the AMA’s budget.

Over 1 billion prescriptions are monitored every year due to this process.

Advocates of the pharmaceutical industry have continuously told the public that this prescriber data is to facilitate the care the prescriber gives the patient.

Nothing could be further from the truth. In 10 years, I worked as a drug representative for 3 of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world.

With each employer, the prescribing data that we had on the prescribers was used entirely to increase the market share of the drugs promoted with these companies by manipulating the prescribers targeted for financial gain of these pharmaceutical corporations.

Also, data mining is utilized by drug companies to target those who need to be gifted, and those who will not,

Dan Abshear

Anonymous said...

Dan, based on your assessment and thoughts, i think you should be required to return your paychecks from the years you were a rep. because you are the front lines of trying to make money for those companies. hipo.