drug

States begin cracking down on drug companies buying prescription history records

Saturday, October 01, 2011 by: PF Louis
Tags: drug companies, customer records, health news

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(NaturalNews) Big Pharma uses prescription drug purchase records from pharmacies for marketing. Not to track sales, but to locate doctors who need visits from pharmaceutical sales reps. Vermont passed a law restricting Big Pharma's reach into doctors offices by banning the use of pharmacy prescription records for marketing. But Big Pharma recently challenged the State of Vermont's statute in the Supreme Court. Pharma won. Vermont's law was declared unconstitutional.

Background

Pharmacists enter prescription information into a data base. All the information, excluding patient identity, can be sold to information brokers who sell that data to pharmaceutical companies.

Then drug company sales reps can track down doctors and target them for marketing purposes. This is like supplying good leads to sales people, only the sales people are drug pushers for Big Pharma.

Vermont was trying to keep drug companies from urging doctors away from prescribing less expensive generic drugs. Generic drugs save money used by state funded medical programs. Pharmaceutical reps push their companies latest patented drugs, which cost considerably more than similar generic drugs.

Other New England states were beginning to follow Vermont's legal leadership. But Vermont's statute had one fatal flaw. It made the honorable concession of allowing drug companies to collect that data for research while banning it from marketing.

The Supreme Court declared that Vermont's law violated free speech rights. They ruled that if you allow someone to have information, you can't tell them how to use it.

Vermont's new statute should have been to withhold prescription purchase data from Big Pharma completely. Compromising with sociopaths doesn't work.

Big Pharma's big push

Instead of healthcare, we have sick care accelerated by dispensing more drugs as magic bullets instead of encouraging lifestyle and dietary changes. The more pharmaceutical pills appear as solutions, the more real healing is ignored and more bad health is created. It is a vicious cycle. One that is very lucrative for Big Pharma.

Pharmaceutical company reps overwhelm doctors with gift items and free samples of new drugs. The gifts get bigger for doctors attending educational seminars (infomercials) sponsored by drug companies. Golf clubs, cases of expensive wine or scotch, and vacation resort trips flow freely to cooperating MDs.

As long as drug sales reps categorize their expenditures for doctors under "educational expenses," there are no limits to the gifts and vacations favored physicians can receive. Pharmaceutical sales reps have virtually unlimited budgets.

Some doctors sign off on favorable medical journal reports written by ghost writers hired by drug companies. Those MDs are highly rewarded. After all, it's another "educational expense."

Obviously, the more Big Pharma could be restricted from their manic marketing, the less they could degrade health care to sick care. Our collective health would improve dramatically.

Sources for this article include:

How Big Pharma influences doctors (includes excellent video) http://www.smashcancer.com/2010/09/04/big-ph...

The Vermont case before the ruling http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/25/business/2...

The Supreme Court ruling report http://consumerist.com/2011/06/supreme-court...

The Vermont case after the ruling (forum) http://www.reddit.com/r/politics/comments/i8...

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