ON bans big Pharma marketing scheme.

Ontario is banning a new Big Pharma marketing scheme that uses electronic medical records to sell drugs.

Health minister, Eric Hoskins said, “Ontario patients must have confidence that (prescribing) decisions are not influenced by marketing programs or electronic vouchers.”

The electronic vouchers steer patients to brand name drugs over their less expensive generic equivalents, and have raised concerns that patients’ health records are being used to sell pricier drugs that can pile unnecessary costs onto private insurance plans.

The voucher works like a coupon: If a patient’s insurance does not cover the full cost of the pricier brand name drug, the drug’s manufacturer will cover part or all of the cost difference from its generic equivalent.

The voucher feature, found in medical record software owned by Telus Health and other companies, will be disabled over the coming weeks.

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