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Why Do Drugmakers Know What Meds Your Physician Prescribes?

I suspect a good portion of the estimated $16 billion drugmakers pay out annually to influence your doctor to prescribe a particular medication is spent for one reason: Computerized records that keep track of a physician's prescribing habits, according to this awesome feature in the New York Times (free text link below).

No doubt, this data-collection practice is "the most powerful tool a drug rep has," says Jamie Reidy, who wrote last year's expose Hard Sell: The Evolution of a Viagra Salesman.

Although this dishonest practice isn't new by any means, a growing number of doctors are rebelling against it and state legislatures are considering laws limiting it. In fact, California's state medical association has introduced a program of its own.

And, not surprisingly, the AMA will soon give its physician members the freedom to restrict their prescription records from the 90,000 drug company reps in hopes of heading off such laws. But some legislators, like State Rep. Cindy Rosenwald of New Hampshire, believe the AMA's new program won't provide nearly enough protection because drug companies would still have access to the same information elsewhere. (Read more about the AMA's Prescribing Data Restriction Program.)

The best way to beat these deceptive practices is at the source -- meaning you. Optimizing your health by making some simple lifestyle changes can make all the difference in the world. The best way to get started right now: Take my free online nutritional type test to learn what foods your body burns best.

New York Times May 4, 2006 Registration Required

The (Lakeland, Fla.) Ledger May 4, 2006

Pharmaceutical Executive May 1, 2006 Free Full-Text Article

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