Washington, D.C. (June 23, 2011) — Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) Executive Vice President Josephine Martin issued the following statement regarding the Supreme Court’s opinion on prescriber data:
“Today’s opinion by the U.S. Supreme Court is not only a victory for free speech, but also a triumph for patients and future research and development by biopharmaceutical companies.
“The use of prescriber data, with all patient identification removed, helps companies properly inform doctors about prescription medicines and their characteristics – including new indications, proper dosage forms and potential side effects – in a targeted and expedited manner. Reliable, timely access to such information about a medicine is essential for a physician to provide quality care to patients.
“The use of prescribing history is especially important as America’s biopharmaceutical research companies discover and develop new medicines for rare diseases and then convey information about those medicines to providers who are treating small patient populations, where new and timely information about these medicines is especially important. Companies are currently developing a record 460 medicines for rare diseases.
“It’s important for any healthcare provider prescribing a medicine to be able to learn about new risks as well as newly-approved uses for that medicine – information that can most effectively be communicated if companies can determine which providers are prescribing which medicines.
“PhRMA has long believed that legislation to restrict prescriber data is unnecessary. Healthcare professionals currently have the ability to restrict data where they feel appropriate, and the American Medical Association’s (AMA) Physician Data Restriction Program (PDRP) has been endorsed by PhRMA in our Code on Interactions with Healthcare Professionals.
“In the end, we want to make certain that doctors have the information they need to safely and effectively treat their patients. We are pleased that the Supreme Court found that the Vermont law is an unconstitutional restriction on such truthful speech. With the safeguards already in place to ensure proper use, prescriber data allows America’s biopharmaceutical research companies to continue to provide the physician community important new information about medicines.”