Hepatitis Social Community
1.94k Members
9648 tn?1290091207

Big Pharma . . . or Big Brother

from the LA Times

By Andrew Zajac
December 14, 2009

Reporting from Washington - When your doctor writes you a prescription, that's just between you, your doctor and maybe your health insurance company -- right?

Wrong. As things stand now, the pharmaceutical companies that make those prescription drugs are looking over the doctor's shoulder to keep track of how many prescriptions for each drug the physician is writing.

By obtaining data from pharmacies and health insurers, the drug companies learn the prescribing habits of thousands of doctors. That information has become not just a powerful sales and marketing tool for the pharmaceutical industry but also a source of growing concern among some elected officials, healthcare advocates and legal authorities.

The identity of patients is not disclosed in such data, but knowing in detail what individual doctors are prescribing enables drug makers to fine-tune their messages when sales reps call on doctors. They can lobby for use of an alternative drug made by their own company, for instance, bolstering the pitch with specially selected research data or free samples.

What worries some government officials and patient advocates is that keying sales tactics to an individual doctor's prescribing preferences -- known as data mining -- may distort decision-making and fuel prescribing of new, high-cost drugs.


the rest of the article can be found here:
5 Responses
96938 tn?1189799858
What worries some government officials.....

No to be political in nature, but in the proposed Health Care Plan the government will get the full patient data, including  prescriptions, with the personally identifiable information.  I can't imagine what government officials are currently worried about.
9648 tn?1290091207
It's what the recipient of the information does with it that concerns me. Our lives are pretty much an open book to whoever wishes to collect the data starting with the cookies on our computers and including the swipe-me-I'm-a-member card at the markets.  
96938 tn?1189799858
Unfortunately, you're right.  Reminds me of a Joplin song "...take another piece..."
Avatar universal
You would be blown away if you really knew how much personal  information about an individual is known to other sources used for marketing,in the near future we will all be implanted with data chips,and this aint no hokey pokey.
338734 tn?1377160168
It seems to me that the data-mining by the pharma companies can only serve one purpose, and that purpose is not the welfare of the patients or the benefit of medical science in general. If the government were really concerned about this, it could require patient consent to be included in the totals, like in studies. This would put an end to it.

Liked FLGuy's comment. The government's possession with all that data (personal included) is a much bigger risk to our medical privacy that the non-personal data mining being done by pharma and others.
Have an Answer?
Top Hepatitis Answerers
317787 tn?1473358451
683231 tn?1467323017
Auburn, WA
Learn About Top Answerers
Didn't find the answer you were looking for?
Ask a question
Popular Resources
A list of national and international resources and hotlines to help connect you to needed health and medical services.
Here’s how your baby’s growing in your body each week.
These common ADD/ADHD myths could already be hurting your child
This article will tell you more about strength training at home, giving you some options that require little to no equipment.
In You Can Prevent a Stroke, Dr. Joshua Yamamoto and Dr. Kristin Thomas help us understand what we can do to prevent a stroke.
Smoking substitute may not provide such a healthy swap, after all.