About 54% of physicians support a ban on the collection of any personal drug-prescribing information, saying tougher restrictions should apply to their privacy with patients, according to a new national poll. Despite those concerns, only about 4% of doctors have taken advantage of the American Medical Associations Prescription Data Restriction Program, which effectively prohibits the release of prescribing information to drug salespeople.
There is a discrepancy between the amount of concern physicians express about protecting their prescribing privacy and their plans to take action through the PDRP, said Andrew Brana, a spokesman for TNS Healthcare, a market-research group that conducted the poll of about 1,000 physicians in January.
The Internet survey, which includes six specialties, also found that only about 29% of the physicians plan to use the AMAs data-restriction program to keep their prescribing policies off-limits. About 44% of those surveyed said they will wait and decide later whether to join the data-restriction program. At the same time, the survey found, an overwhelming majority of these doctorsabout 85%said they would be willing to provide information on prescribing practices to the drug industry through market-research questionnaires. A spokesman for TNS said doctors are concerned about the accuracy of information from secondary sources, including pharmacies, but are much more comfortable when the information on their prescribing habits is self-reported.
The AMA said about 6,000 of its 244,000 members have signed up for the data-restriction program since it was launched in July 2006. -- by Michael Romano