What Drug Companies Know About You and Your Doctor

The information allows drug makers to know which drugs a doctor is prescribing and how that compares to a colleague across town. They know whether patients are filling their prescriptions — and refilling them on time. They know details of patients’ medical conditions and lab tests, and sometimes even their age, income and ethnic backgrounds. (NYT)

Comments (11)

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  1. Harley says:

    This is a huge racket — Doctors get incentives from big pharm to sell some drugs rather than others. Why do you thing the peddlers and medical device salesmen are so competitive?

  2. Pete says:

    I wonder if they track the demographics for post experimental research. While it may be unethical without consent, that kind of information could be valuable.

  3. Bubba says:

    Some states (Vermont I think) have considered making it illegal for drug makers to track physician prescribing habits. I presume supporters logic is that the harder it is to track what a doctor prescribes, the harder it is to reward that doctor for prescribing specific drugs.

  4. Gabriel Odom says:

    I’m all for doctors having lines of communication with other doctors, but I don’t believe that Big Pharma should be involved at all. I don’t want drug companies knowing my consumption habits.

  5. Sam says:

    There is a fine line and I don’t believe granting such access to pharmaceuticals is a good thing.

  6. Tim says:

    This is not good. All it is good for is for pharmaceuticals to continue profiteering at any expense.

  7. Marcus Wayland says:

    This information is absolutely necessary to drug development. Drug chemists need to have access to human behavior in order to see how they need to design the drugs. By having demographic information, the drug chemists can design the appropriate strength and time release capsules appropriate to their customers.

  8. H. James Prince says:

    Marcus, that’s all well and good, but this information is being used for targeted marketing. Also, these pharmaceutical don’t have the integrity or legal obligation to keep that information private. This creates a near perfect storm of Protected Patient Information problems.

  9. Bubba says:


    What you say may have a grain of truth, but I suspect drug makers are more interesting in knowing which doctors are prescribing Drug X so they can reward them, and which ones are not so they can visit them. Drug makers are interested in finding out which patients could be induced to request Drug X if they were given a Drug X pharmacy gift card to pay their (higher) co-pay for a non-preferred drug (in the process, shafting the insurer who now has to reimburse for the higher-priced, non-preferred drug).

  10. Huda says:

    Well, since they are making them, I do think they have some rights to know about who is taking them and how they will be using them.

  11. Wasif says:

    I think it is just good business to know your customers. The same goes with drug companies.