Bill To Permit Direct Rx Mailings in California Goes Up for Second Vote
On Thursday, the California Senate is expected to vote on an amended bill (SB 1096) that would allow pharmaceutical firms to mail information directly to patients, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
The measure failed to pass out of the Senate last week, but it has been amended to allow patients to opt out of the mailings when they pick up their prescriptions.
Supporters of the bill, by Sen. Ron Calderon (D-Montebello), said the mailings would help remind patients to take their medicine and refill prescriptions.
"The point is to tell people to take the drug as prescribed and to refill it," Rocky Rushing, a spokesperson for Calderon, said.
Adheris, a subsidiary of a drug marketing company that was sued several years ago for privacy violations, is a leading supporter of the legislation.
The California Medical Association opposes the bill, arguing that it could jeopardize patient safety and disrupt physician-patient relationships. CMA also said the mailings are particularly problematic for patients with sensitive conditions, such as mental illness.
Zack Kaldveer, spokesperson for the Consumer Federation of California, said, "This bill would be a windfall for corporations seeking to track, buy and sell a patient's private medical records" (Fernandez, San Francisco Chronicle, 5/28).