In response to reader comments and rebuttals on Joseph Conn's "Data-miners unite in Maine to block 'opt-out' Rx law":
The first letter by Terry Nugent at least used logical arguments, but his second reveals blatant biases of a medical marketer, attempting to politicize the issues. For example, describing "quixotic struggles of the left to suppress prescription profile data." Since when did this become a left/right issue? The assertion that "prescription profiles reduce the cost of pharmaceutical marketing" is entirely unproven, but even if true, the question is one of fairness and transparency. In talking to physician colleagues, the reason most have not taken advantage of the American Medical Association's "opt-out" program is that they were not informed about it unless they asked!
Nugent alleges that there is a "hidden agenda ... to make medical marketing illegal, thus enabling leftist politicians to buy votes with cheap old drugs rather than new improved remedies." Frankly, I have no objection to medical marketing, if it is fair, ethical and above-board. But many of those "cheap old drugs" work at least as well, and more safely, than some heavily hyped new drugs. Of course, "cheap" benefits patients, but not the profit margins of pharmaceutical companies whom Nugent may be representing. In fact, it would be fair of Nugent to disclose the identities of his clients, not just "Medical Marketing Service"that sort of "profile data" would be helpful to readers.
Paul McKenneyInternistChairmanKent Hospital Pharmacy & Therapeutics CommitteeWarwick, R.I. To submit a letter to YOUR VIEWS, click here. Please include your name, title and hometown.