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Rx COST IMPACT ON PHYSICIAN PRESCRIBING PRIVILEGES

Executive Summary

Rx COST IMPACT ON PHYSICIAN PRESCRIBING PRIVILEGES will be examined by the American Society of Internal Medicine in an upcoming "white paper." Meeting Oct. 13 in Washington, D.C., ASIM's House of Delegates endorsed a resolution to have the society "develop a white paper and evaluate the need for a policy on the increasing costs of prescription medicine and the effect of that cost on physician prescribing privileges, access to care and patient compliance." The report is due to ASIM members in nine months. Originally submitted by ASIM's California chapter, the resolution states that the "high cost of pharmaceuticals has increasingly caused greater difficulty for our aging population to attain proper medical care," and the "overwhelming majority" of physicians have "no easy access to the costs of pharmaceuticals and therefore little concept of comparative costs of relatively equivalent medications." The resolution adds that the "abusive nature of these price increases may lead to government controls and further affect the practice of medicine." An ASIM committee that initially reviewed the California proposal added the language to specifically study prescribing perogatives. The committee explained that it "believes that concerns with the rising costs of drugs has resulted in continued efforts to restrict physician prescribing privileges." The internists also endorsed the American Medical Association's ethics guidelines on pharmaceutical industry promotional practices and gifts from industry. Also approved was a resolution urging ASIM state affiliates to "support state legislation and/or regulation to require generic drug labels to include the trade name that was prescribed by the physician, where substitution may be permitted" directing ASIM to "monitor this issue at the national level." Several ASIM members "expressed concern that when the trade name ordered by the physician is substituted with a generic it often confuses patients," according to the review committee. "Additionally physicians often need to be able to identify the drug that was actually administered when a generic is substituted."
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