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Examination of physicians’ prescribing patterns and accumulation and sale of this information by the health care information organization industry is not new and was not imposed upon the medical profession by the pharmaceutical industry, an author writes (History of Medicine, p. 742). Prescriber profiling was developed through interactions by the industry with active participation by practicing physicians and their organizations. For example, the American Medical Association’s Physician Masterfile, information from which is sold by the AMA, “requires participation from both professional associations and practicing physicians,” the writer says. Legislation or policy to remedy issues of prescriber profiling must recognize the role of not only the pharmaceutical industry but also of physicians and physician organizations who collectively bear responsibility for proper utilization. An editorial writer calls for an end to “physician participation in marketing research and the sale of physician prescribing data to marketing firms” (Editorial, p. 751).
A new study of 1,226 older adults in 20 primary care practices found that the death rate of those with depression who were enrolled in a depression management group was lower than those with depression receiving usual care (Article, p. 689). The effect appears mainly in deaths that were due to cancer. The reason for the effect is not clear.
A review of published literature on fibromyalgia finds that patients with the condition, which is characterized by chronic muscle pain and stiffness, have a lower pain threshold than healthy individuals (Review, p. 726). The cause and treatment of the syndrome are not well understood. The review provides an overview of the mechanisms currently thought to be partly responsible for fibromyalgia pain.