The event is part of AMSA's National PharmFree Week, which will include the release of its PharmFree Scorecard, which evaluates conflict-of-interest policies at academic medical centers.
The focus of Opt Out Day is the American Medical Association's Physician Masterfile and preventing new physicians' personal and prescribing information from being commercially sold.
“As a physician, I have no knowledge or control over data about me that is sold in the AMA Masterfile,” said Dr. Michael Mendoza, a former AMSA member and now medical director at Highland Family Medicine in Rochester, N.Y., in the release. “I am not an AMA member, and I feel that the AMA has abused my rights to privacy by selling data about me without my consent for commercial and marketing purposes.”
AMSA maintains that Physician Masterfile data should only be used for research purposes to benefit patients and not for tracking prescription patterns or for devising marketing strategies. In an e-mail, AMA President Dr. Jeremy Lazarus said the AMA is already acting on behalf of doctors who do not want drug company sales representatives to have access to their prescribing history.
“Since 2006, the AMA's Physician Data Restriction Program has allowed physician members and non-members to designate their prescribing data as off-limits to drug salespeople, while preserving the data for public good purposes, such as medical research, quality improvement and drug recall notices,” Lazarus said. “Restricting access to prescribing data is a choice available to every medical student once they graduate. Only the AMA can guarantee the nation's newest physicians have that choice and control, while ensuring the data remains available for public good purposes.”
PharmFree Week is an extension of AMSA's PharmFree Campaign which was launched in 2002 to highlight pharmaceutical industry influences in academic medicine such as financial support for educational events, free meals, speaking engagements and consulting arrangements.
AMSA was founded by the AMA in 1950 as the Student American Medical Association. The students split from the AMA in 1967 as they began taking stands on issues such as civil rights and the Vietnam War. The organization took its current name in 1975.