California’s Physician Prescribing Act A History of Twists and Turns
California Assembly Bill 262 (AB 262) was introduced in February, 2003, just a few months before the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Privacy Rule became effective in April, 2003. Back then the bill was aimed at preventing the disclosure by healthcare providers of patients’ medical information for marketing purposes without prior patient authorization.

Since then, the bill has undergone many changes and now, if passed, would regulate the sale of physician prescribing data by pharmacists to pharmaceutical data vendors such as IMS Health. The bill is now known officially as the “Physician Prescribing Practices Act.”

This article traces the changes in the bill as it wended its way through various committees. It describes the provisions that may limit the use of physician prescribing data by pharmaceutical marketers, identifies organizations that have taken a position in favor and against the bill, and discusses the arguments on both sides of the issue.

Topic headings:

  • Twists and Turns
  • Data Vendors (definition)
  • Where It Stands Today
  • Uses of Prescriber Data
  • Arguments in Favor
  • Arguments in Opposition
  • What Next?

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Issue: Vol. 3, No. 7: July/August 2004
Word Count: 2457

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