Great article in today’s Washington Post: “Doctors, Legislators Resist Drugmakers’ Prying Eyes”. The article discusses the now-hot issue of whether the data of what drugs Doctors prescribe should be private, or whether drug companies should be able to purchase that data from pharmacies.

The article features the National Physicians Alliance, which has a new campaign on this issue (featured in our recent blog entry, “Doctors: Big Pharma is watching you!”)

In that entry, we raised the issue of whether doctors know that their prescribing data is being sold. All indications are that many if not most doctors are not aware of this. But how would most Doctors feel if they knew that the American Medical Association was selling their information to drug companies? As the article points out:

The American Medical Association, a larger and far more established group, makes millions of dollars each year by helping data-mining companies link prescribing data to individual physicians. It does so by licensing access to the AMA Physician Masterfile, a database containing names, birth dates, educational background, specialties and addresses for more than 800,000 doctors.

After complaints from some members, the AMA last year began allowing doctors to “opt out” and shield their individual prescribing information from salespeople, although drug companies can still get it. So far, 7,476 doctors have opted out, AMA officials said.

It’s not abundantly clear on the AMA website how physicians go about opting out, but this page appears to be a likely candidate.