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NV Lawmakers Offer "Prescriptions" to Help Pharmacy Consumers

February 6, 2007

As they begin the 2007 legislative session, state lawmakers are expected to file several prescription drug bills. One proposal would require improvements to drug labels; and others would limit the amount of money drug companies may spend on marketing.

Assemblyman David Bobzien says some prescription names are so fancy, consumers find it difficult to understand what it is they are using. He wants to provide Nevadans the option of having more detailed labels on their prescriptions, or even no label at all.

"This will be up to the consumer, because certainly there will be times when you may not want that label to be on your bottle. This idea puts that power with the consumers for them to be able to request, and be granted a detailed label on their bottles."

Lawmakers will reintroduce a bill that would require drug companies to report all gifts made to doctors valued in excess of $100. Another measure would prohibit profiling, which pharmaceutical companies use to track the drugs doctors prescribe for marketing purposes.

The AARP's Barry Gold says one Senate bill would prohibit the buying and selling of information about the types of drugs a family doctor prescribes.

"This information is used to target specific sales pitches and marketing strategies to individual doctors; this is what's known as "prescriber profiling" and it's an invasion of privacy for both doctors and patients."

Lawmakers will try again this year to pass a "detailing" bill, which Gold describes as an attempt to control how much money drug companies spend on gifts to doctors.

"There are billions of dollars being spent on marketing, and if we could get an idea of that, and maybe slow that money down, maybe some of those cost savings could be passed onto consumers."

Michael Clifford/Jamie Folsom, Public News Service - NV