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AMA denies conflict on pharmaceutical data mining

InformationWeek, August 10, 2011

The new president of the American Medical Association, Peter W. Carmel, MD, lashed out on Monday at critics who claim that the association has done less than it could have to persuade physicians to join its five-year-old Physician Data Restriction Program. Fewer than 28,000 doctors have joined the PDRP, which enables doctors to opt out of prescription data mining used in pharmaceutical marketing campaigns. A recent New England Journal of Medicine commentary suggested that the AMA had sabotaged the PDRP. The authors, writing about a Supreme Court decision striking down a Vermont data mining law, noted that the AMA makes a lot of money from selling its physician lists, which data miners combine with prescribing data. In response, Carmel told InformationWeek Healthcare, "the American Medical Association has dedicated substantial resources to an ongoing multi-year campaign promoting its program to provide physicians with the choice to designate their prescription data as off-limits to pharmaceutical sales representatives. Assertions that call into question the AMA's commitment are unfounded speculation that ignores the facts."