Prescription records are kept not so private

Prescription records are kept not so private

The American Medical Association gathers information about physicians’ prescribing habits and they’ve been doing it for decades. If your doctor has ever written a prescription for you, that record is in the AMA physician database, even if your doctor is not an AMA member.

Why does the AMA collect this private information? Well, for one thing, AMA officials can sell your doctor’s prescribing information to drug companies. That’s right – your prescription records are worth cash money to the AMA.

Wait – did I say, “sell”? I’m sorry. According to the AMA, they’re not “selling” your private information, they’re “licensing” it, which just means that the AMA has at least some control over how the information is used.

There now don’t you feel better knowing that your private records can be used to plan marketing strategies for prescription drugs?

Actually, there is a little detail here that might make you feel better. Amanda Ross, the editor of Dr. Jonathan V. Wright’s Nutrition & Healing recently had this to say in her Health e-Tips e-letter:

“The good news is doctors can simply contact the AMA to opt out of this system via the Physician Data Restriction Program, or PDRP. The bad news is many doctors don’t even realize the PDRP exists. Even worse, according to one survey, only 60 percent of physicians were even aware that the AMA is selling their information.

“The next time you’re in for an appointment, ask your doctor if he or she is aware that the AMA is selling their personal information, and that drug companies are profiting from it. If it comes as news to them, let them know about the PDRP. And don’t be afraid to tell them that you hope they’ll choose to opt out, so that you’ll continue to have options too, and not just the ones the pharmaceutical industry wants you to have.”

Amanda has other important insights about this issue in her “Check Mate” (1/14/08) Health e-Tips:

“Check Mate” Amanda Ross, Health e-Tips, 1/14/08,