February 24, 2024

Drug companies targeting doctors with prescription records

US drug companies are tailoring their marketing to individual doctors with lists detailing their prescribing habits, according to Slate magazine. The lists are created by matching de-identified prescriptions written by the 600,000 doctors in the US with their identification numbers. These numbers are supplied either by the federal government or by the American Medical Association, which earns about US$20 million a year by selling its database.

By combining all this information, the drug companies know exactly what and how much each doctor prescribes. “Relatively few physicians know about prescriber reports,” says Slate. “But their existence makes it far more difficult to imagine that pharmaceutical marketing has no effect on the doctors it targets.”