When your doctor prescribes you a medication you probably expect that the information stays between you, the doctor, and your insurance company. However, prescription data miners are changing that dynamic in scary ways: by spying on your prescription data they are able to provide pharmaceutical companies with information to entice doctors to prescribe their medications more frequently. In fact, pharmaceutical companies are able to learn how to “fine-tune” their messages so that when a sales-rep calls a doctor, they are able to give a good pitch. Furthermore, pharmaceutical companies can entice doctors to prescribe their medications with free samples of drugs. While the individual identities of patients is not disclosed in data mining, government officials are concerned about doctors’ decision-making becoming distorted because of the new sales tactics of pharmaceutical companies with access to prescription information.
The process of prescription data mining begins with medical data firms. Medical data firms have access to billions of prescription records, which they purchase from pharmacies and health insurers who have physician data from the American Medical Association, as well as other sources. They then are able to sell this information to pharmaceutical companies. According to critics, the end result is that drug companies are able to sell their newest and costliest medications, not necessarily the most effective medications.
Patient advocates and government officials are also concerned about the interference in the patient-doctor relationship, as well as increased spending on expensive drugs. However, data miners argue that they are actually helping contain the cost of prescription medications by improving quality and by quickly providing doctors with information on which drugs work best.
recently named in the 2009 edition of Best Lawyer's In America, David Mittleman has been representing seriously injured people since 1985. A partner with Church Wyble PC—a division of Grewal Law PLLC—Mr. Mittleman and his partners focus on medical malpractice, wrongful death, car accidents, slip and falls, nursing home injury, pharmacy/pharmacist negligence and disability claims.