AMA Program Helps Protect Prescribing Information

October 22, 2008

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Q & A with American Medical Association Trustee Jeremy A. Lazarus, MD

Q: What is the AMA Physician Data Restriction Program (PDRP) and how is it benefiting physicians?
A: The Physician Data Restriction Program (PDRP) offers physicians the option of withholding their prescribing data from pharmaceutical sales representatives while still making it available for medical research purposes. The program also allows physicians to register complaints against sales representatives or pharmaceutical companies who they believe are using their prescribing data inappropriately.

PDRP is available to all physicians, both AMA members and non-members, and we're very pleased to offer it as a way to give physicians a choice about the accessibility of their prescribing data.

Q: Does the AMA collect and provide these data to pharmaceutical companies?
A: No, the AMA does not collect, license, sell or have access to physician prescribing data. Healthcare information companies (HIOs) collect and compile physician prescribing data and sell it to pharmaceutical companies. The AMA does, however, license physician demographic data to HIOs.

Q: Why did the AMA launch the PDRP?
A: A few years ago, the AMA became aware that some physicians had concerns regarding the inappropriate use of their prescribing data by some pharmaceutical sales representatives. As the physician advocate, the AMA conducted a Gallup survey of physician attitudes regarding the use of physician prescribing data by pharmaceutical companies. Through that survey we found that the majority (84%) of physicians said either they were not concerned about the release of prescribing data or that the ability to “opt-out” of the release of their data to pharmaceutical sales representatives would alleviate their concerns. In response to this, the AMA created PDRP which was launched in 2006 to provide physicians the option to restrict their prescribing data from pharmaceutical sales reps.

Q: How are physicians responding to the PDRP program?
A: We are proud to say that PDRP is working very well and is meeting the needs of participating physicians. Of the physicians that expressed an opinion on PDRP in a recent market research study, 96% were either satisfied or very satisfied with the program. This high level of satisfaction resulted in over half (56%) of respondents telling a colleague about the program.

Q: Are pharmaceutical companies obligated to adhere to the PDRP?
A: Through licensing agreements with HIOs, the AMA can exert influence over how they and their pharmaceutical clients use prescribing data. These licensing contracts require the pharmaceutical companies to honor PDRP physician opt outs. Companies found to be in violation could lose access to AMA data altogether.

Q: How can physicians register for the PDRP program?
A: To enroll in PDRP online, visit the AMA's Physician Data Restriction Program page or call the AMA at (800) 621-8335.