Eckerd Settles Florida Attorney General’s Claims on Marketing Practices, Will Change Policies
Eckerd Corp. on Wednesday settled claims from the Florida Attorney General's office that it uses its retail stores' prescription pick-up log to help pharmaceutical companies market drugs, the St. Petersburg Times reports. The company did not admit to any wrongdoing but said it would change its practices (Ulferts, St. Petersburg Times). The state Attorney General's office began investigating the drug store chain last December after learning that "when customers signed a slip acknowledging that they were receiving a prescription drug, the fine print included authorization to release information" to the drug store for future marketing purposes. Eckerd agreed to change its practices at all of its 2,640 stores in 20 states (Dorschner, Miami Herald, 7/11). The company now will "conspicuously disclose when any marketing materials," including refill reminders and information about competing medicines, are backed by pharmaceutical companies, the Wall Street Journal reports (Zimmerman/Armstrong, Wall Street Journal, 7/11). The drug store chain's new procedure will allow customers to "sign a separate form if they want to receive medical marketing information" and will no longer use the customer log to generate mailing lists. In addition, the company will endow an ethics chair at Florida A&M University's School of Pharmacy for $1 million. State Attorney General Bob Butterworth (D) called the ethics chair endowment "especially fitting" in this case, adding, "The primary concern of a pharmacist should be the safe and effective treatment of patients, not marketing opportunities" (Kleindienst, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, 7/11).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.