The Rx Files
I know you have been wondering how pharma sales reps can keep track of physicians and what they prescribe. And many journalists have asked me the same thing. Here's a recent article on the topic and what happens to your prescription after you give it to the drug store and who buys your data.
The RX files
California tries to restrict drug-company access to your prescription records
By Jake Whitney
Pharmaceutical companies are using prescription records to target doctors. A new California program would give some docs the right to "opt out" of disclosing this information.
When Dr. David Mitchell was a third-year medical student in 1998, he attended a lunch thrown by a group of Aventis pharmaceutical representatives. Mitchell was short on money and went along solely for the free food. But the purpose of the lunch, he soon discovered, was to discuss Aventis’ high-blood-pressure medication, Cardizem CD.
During lunch, one of the representatives turned to a family-practitioner friend of Mitchell’s who had accompanied him and asked her why she wasn’t prescribing much of their drug. The doctor told her hosts they had nothing to worry about and that she was prescribing Cardizem.
The inquiring Aventis representative then pulled out a palmtop computer and confronted the physician with exactly how little Cardizem CD she had prescribed the previous month compared with competing high-blood-pressure medications.
The data on the computer screen, Mitchell noted, included the names and quantities of every drug Mitchell’s physician friend had prescribed in the previous three months.
“It was,” Mitchell said, “my first exposure to the tracking.”
Story continues here.