Mining our own business

A doctor’s office is a private place. Patients would never assume their treatment and conditions are being used in sophisticated drug company marketing schemes targeted at their doctor. But that’s what is happening.
Without physicians’ consent, private companies make millions of dollars buying and selling information about which drugs doctors prescribe for their patients. What many patients and doctors think is confidential information protected by law, is actually for sale to pharmaceutical companies. Those companies then use it to influence prescribing choices made by physicians through aggressive direct marketing.
A bill before Maine’s Legislature will halt this invasive and highly lucrative process known as “data mining” while preserving use of the information to track safety, carry out public health studies, monitor Medicaid spending and other public purposes.
LD 838, An Act Protecting the Confidentiality of Prescription Information, will ensure the highest levels of privacy and care by forbidding the sale of doctors’ prescribing information to private companies for use in pharmaceutical marketing.
{The people of Maine found out that their identifiable prescription data is being data mined and sold to drug companies and want to ban this practice by law. What they do not realize is that marketing to doctors is not the only unwanted and illegal use of their personal prescription records. Identifiable prescription records have been data mined daily for over a decade and sold to insurers for underwriting and to large employers who want to know what medications their employees take. These secret uses result in discrimination, job loss, and increased insurance rates or even insurance denial. Losing your job or not getting one in the first place is even worse for you than having drug company representatives pressure your doctor to prescribe a different medicine. ~ Dr. Deborah Peel, Patient Privacy Rights}

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