States tighten screws on pharma marketers

Concerned about the influence of pharma drug reps, who some consider to have undue power, state legislators are considering a number of measures which would regulate the companies providing data on physicians. They're targeting firms like IMS Health, a $1.96 billion company which collects records from pharmacy chains on which drugs physicians prescribe to patients. These databases include details like the physician's age and gender, patient insurance mix and a sense of their attitudes. IMS and its competitors sell this data to pharmaceutical companies, whose reps use it for leverage when they make sales calls. New Hampshire has already banned the use of data-mining company databases, and several other states are considering similar bills, including Arizona, Illinois, Kansas, Maine, Nevada, New York, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia and Texas. IMS has filed a lawsuit in federal court to block implementation of the New Hampshire statute.

To learn more about these bills:
- read this piece from The Washington Post