GROUP ANNOUNCES CAMPAIGN TO END CONFLICTS OF INTEREST IN PRESCRIBING
The healthcare advocacy group Community Catalyst has begun what it says is the first comprehensive campaign to conduct and publicize research on potential conflicts of interest arising from the $12 billion spent annually on pharmaceutical marketing directed at physicians. The project will also advocate policy reforms to eliminate conflicts and promote prescription practices based on scientific evidence.
The Prescription Project is the latest call to end conflicts of interest, adding to recommendations made last year in The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).
"Although new medical drugs and devices are revolutionizing the practice of healthcare and improving quality of life, America has a prescription drug problem," Robert Restuccia, executive director of the project, said.
According to Restuccia, the multibillion-dollar investment in direct-to-physician marketing is influencing the prescribing behavior of doctors. "When Americans visit their doctor and get a prescription, they should know he or she is relying only on the best medical information, not the latest marketing campaign," he added.
Community Catalyst, a healthcare advocacy organization, is conducting the project with the Institute on Medicine as a Profession (IMAP). Over the next two years, The Prescription Project will work with medical and consumer stakeholders, policymakers and public and private payers to:
Document the scope of the problem and its impact on healthcare quality and cost;
Collaborate with leading academic medical centers (AMCs), physician organizations, public and private health plans, consumer organizations and policymakers to promote best practices in prescribing;
Assist AMCs and professional medical societies in adopting policy reforms; and
Undertake a wide range of policy initiatives in partnership with public and private payers to increase the use of evidence-based systems and reduce conflicts of interest.
Public and private payers spend billions annually on prescription drugs. When these payers use information from industry marketing campaigns, rather than unbiased scientific studies, to make their decisions, consumers are left with higher cost and poorer-quality medicines, the announcement said.
The recommendations publicized last year in JAMA came from a joint committee of the American Board of Internal Medicine and IMAP. Several prominent AMCs, including Stanford University, the University of Pennsylvania and Yale University, have since enacted reforms based on those recommendations. However, Community Catalyst said these improvements have come bit by bit, and not as part of a concerted effort.