VERMONT BILL WOULD STOP 'UNCONSCIONABLE PRICING,' USE OF PRESCRIBING INFORMATION FOR MARKETING
A bill introduced in the Vermont Senate would allow the state to sue drugmakers for what it calls "unconscionable pricing" of prescription drugs used to treat serious public health problems. It would also limit companies' ability to use prescribing information to target individual doctors for marketing efforts.
The bill, sponsored by the Senate Finance Committee, is "likely to pass the Senate in one form or another," committee member Mark MacDonald (D) said. The bill would hinder drug companies' use of doctors' prescribing patterns for marketing tactics by limiting their access to prescribing information. Currently, MacDonald said, drug companies are able to get lists of what physicians prescribe so they can compile "hit lists" of doctors who aren't prescribing their drugs. However, he said that drug companies are creative, "and we expect them to mine data some other way."
But PhRMA takes issue with the provision in the bill that would ban the use, distribution and sale of prescriber data. A PhRMA spokeswoman suggested physicians use the American Medical Association's Prescribing Data Restriction Program, where doctors can register to keep their prescribing data private while allowing pharmaceutical companies to keep using anonymous prescribing data.
Specifically, PhRMA said, prescribing data enables companies to communicate to the doctors prescribing their drugs:
"Dear healthcare provider" letters;
Adverse event reports;
Labeling changes; and
Risk management plans.
"I think people think this information is only used in one way when there are many ways people are obligated under FDA guidelines to use this data," the spokeswoman added.
( http://www.fdanews.com/did/6_42/ )