KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

High Court Hears Arguments Regarding Access To Docs’ Prescribing Data

In this case, the state of Vermont is battling drug companies and data-mining firms. Vermont's law bans the sale of prescribing information unless physicians "opt in" and make their records available. Meanwhile, Politico Pro reports that the American Medical Association, which has not taken an official position in the case, has a lot at stake in how the it turns out.

The Hill: Vermont, Drug Companies To Battle At Supreme Court
The U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments Tuesday morning in a challenge to state laws that restrict pharmaceutical companies' access to doctors' prescribing information. The case pits the state of Vermont against drug manufacturers and data-mining firms that sell data on prescriptions written by doctors to drug companies, who can then target their marketing to physicians to sell more pharmaceuticals. Vermont's law bans the sale of the prescribing information unless doctors specifically "opt in" and make their records available (Baker, 4/26).

Politico Pro: Rx Data Is Moneymaker For AMA
The American Medical Association has not taken an official position on the prescription drug data-mining case set to be heard by the Supreme Court Tuesday. But the organization does have a sizable stake in how it goes: The AMA took in $47.5 million in 2009 from the sale of "database products" including the physician master file, a database that makes it possible to link a prescription back to the doctor who wrote it. The total also includes royalties from other products and a credentialing program. This sum outpaces the AMA's revenue from dues - which was $43.2 million in 2009 - and the database income helped the organization weather the recession (Coughlin, 4/25). 

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