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Published December 11, 2009, 09:32 AM

Dorgan Wants Drug Companies to Stop Pitching to Doctors

Two Democratic senators including North Dakota's Byron Dorgan want to stop drug companies from mining pharmacy records to see which doctors are prescribing their medications.

Two Democratic senators including North Dakota's Byron Dorgan want to stop drug companies from mining pharmacy records to see which doctors are prescribing their medications.

The proposed addition to the Senate health care bill would ban the drug industry practice of using prescription records to target sales pitches to individual doctors.

Dorgan and Sen. Herb Kohl of Wisconsin argue that the measure will reduce the undue influence of pharmaceutical sales representatives over doctors.

New Hampshire and Vermont already have banned data mining, despite legal challenges by IMS Health and Verispan who say the restrictions are unconstitutional. Those firms have built multimillion-dollar businesses around gathering prescription data and selling them to pharmaceutical companies.

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