The American Medical Association is calling on state and federal health agencies to investigate whether joint ventures between in-store health clinics and pharmacy chains create conflicts of interest that may be detrimental to the health of patients.
According to an AMA news release, the action, which came out of the groups annual House of Delegates meeting taking place this week in Chicago, was spurred by retailer statements that in-store clinics steer additional traffic into stores, helping to increase sales of prescription drug and other products. AMA officials want to know if the rapidly expanding store-based clinic industry is interrupting patients relationships with their primary-care physicians and having potential effects on both patients health and physicians livelihood.
The nations physicians want the AMA to ensure these incentives do not compromise the basic obligation of store-based health clinics to provide patients with quality care, said AMA board of trustees member Peter Carmel.
In addition to calling for an investigation, AMA officials also are asking states to create legislation regulating the activities of in-store clinics and are appealing to health insurers not to allow such clinics to waive or lower patient co-payments in an attempt to draw business. -- by Shawn Rhea