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The Legislature Advances a Bill Prohibiting Pharma from Using our Prescription Information to Market Drugs to Doctors

The Legislature Advances a Bill Prohibiting Pharma from Using our Prescription Information to Market Drugs to Doctors

May 22, 2008

In its final executive session of the legislative session, the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing favorably reported Financial Services Committee House Chair Representative Mariano’s bill (H. 1005) that would prohibit a pharmaceutical marketing practice known as “data-mining.”

Unbeknownst to many patients and doctors, pharmaceutical companies spend millions of dollars each year purchasing prescription data from pharmacies and prescriber profiles from the AMA, and use that information to market their drugs to physicians. They use the data to figure out what drugs your doctor is prescribing so that they can figure out who are the best “targets” of their marketing efforts, what messages to use for particular doctors and which doctors to shower with gifts. The result is magnified industry influence on prescribing, higher costs, lower quality of care and interference with the doctor-patient relationship. Check out this blog from last fall for an insider account of this practice from Dr. Daniel Carlat.

Three other New England states have already banned data-mining and now Massachusetts is on its way to follow in their footsteps. Thanks to Rep. Mariano for filing this critical legislation and to Chairman Moore, Chairwoman Walrath and the rest of the Health Care Financing committee for advancing it.