AMA in PR storm over sale of database

CHICAGO: The American Medical Association is in the midst of another PR controversy.

CHICAGO: The American Medical Association is in the midst of another PR controversy.

CHICAGO: The American Medical Association is in the midst of another PR controversy.

The doctors' group created a PR firestorm in 1997 when it signed a deal with Sunbeam to endorse its products. This time, it has inked a deal with database company Acxiom, giving it access to its physician database. Drug companies and others can use the data to market to doctors.

The AMA/Acxiom joint venture, HealthCarePro Connect, was reported November 12 by Crain's Chicago Business and picked up the next day by AP. Doctors quoted objected that the deal raised privacy concerns and would increase marketing pressures from pharmaceutical companies.

Art Caplan, director of the University of Pennsylvania's Center for Bioethics, said the deal is 'not the most prudent course the AMA could be taking.' The AMA responded to the current PR flap with a statement from its president-elect Richard Corlin. He said: 'The American Medical Association strongly objects to certain media reports today that misrepresent the intent and potential physician benefits.' AMA PR people would not comment further.

In 1997, the AMA had to pull the plug on a deal that would have seen it receive royalties from Sunbeam in return for putting its seal on home healthcare products.



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