Delegates OK denying Rx data to drug reps
■ The AMA has created a comprehensive prescribing information Web site for physicians.
By Tanya Albert Henry — Posted Dec. 27, 2004
Atlanta The American Medical Association is boosting efforts to curb pharmaceutical representatives' ability to walk into a doctor's office knowing exactly how much of a certain medication the physician has prescribed.
The nearly $200,000 initiative will allow doctors to "opt out" of having their information in the AMA Physician Masterfile shared with pharmaceutical sales representatives. But the physician's data still will be shared with academics, government agencies and others who use it for research and educational materials.
The AMA plans to accomplish this by including restrictions when the Association signs the data licensing agreements with outside sources who buy the information.
The AMA also will collect information from physicians on instances in which they believe a pharmaceutical representative has acted inappropriately so that doctors can address the issues with problematic states, companies or representatives.
The actions come after delegates to the AMA Interim Meeting in December adopted a report that outlined the problems physicians face and made recommendations on how to address the issue.
"When I read this report, I jumped for joy," said pediatrician Eugenia P. Marcus, MD, a delegate from Massachusetts. "I can not tell you how many times I've been sandbagged ... by a pharmaceutical representative. They tell me, 'Doctor, you are not prescribing enough of my product.' I consider this a huge invasion of my privacy."
Information about prescribing data and physician feedback forms are already up on the AMA Web site at the Prescription Data Information Center, which went online in April.
Although the AMA's efforts will help, it might not entirely solve the problems physicians face. The AMA Masterfile is just one physician database that health care information groups use to match to prescribing data from pharmacies claims processors and pharmacy benefit managers.
To address that, doctors called on the AMA to work with the pharmaceutical industry to develop a Prescribing Data Code of Conduct that creates guidelines for the appropriate use of the data and consequences for those who don't follow the rules.