Company That Knows What Drugs Everyone Takes Going Public

Nearly every time you fill out a prescription, your pharmacy sells details of the transaction to outside companies which compile and analyze the information to resell to others. The data includes age and gender of the patient, the name, address and contact details of their doctor, and details about the prescription.

A 60-year-old company little known by the public, IMS Health, is leading the way in gathering this data. They say they have assembled “85% of the world’s prescriptions by sales revenue and approximately 400 million comprehensive, longitudinal, anonymous patient records.”

IMS Health sells data and reports to all the top 100 worldwide global pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, as well as consulting firms, advertising agencies, government bodies and financial firms. In a January 2nd filing to the Security and Exchange Commission announcing an upcoming IPO, IMS said it processes data from more 45 billion healthcare transactions annually (more than six for each human on earth on average) and collects information from more than 780,000 different streams of data worldwide.

Deborah Peel, a Freudian psychoanalyst who founded Patient Privacy Rights in Austin, Texas, has long been concerned about corporate gathering of medical records.

“I’ve spent 35 years or more listening to how people have been harmed because their records went somewhere they didn’t expect,” she says. “It got to employers who either fired them or demoted them or used the information to destroy their reputation.”

“It’s just not right. I saw massive discrimination in the paper age. Exponential isn’t even a big enough word for how far and how much the data is going to be used in the information age,” she continued. “If personal health data ‘belongs’ to anyone, surely it belongs to the individual, not to any corporation that handles, stores, or transmits that information.”

To view the full article please visit: Company That Knows What Drugs Everyone Takes Going Public

Poll shows: We trust our doctors, not their systems

This computer world article by Lucas Mearian discusses a new survey from CDW, showing patients trust their doctors but not electronic health records. And Many respondents don’t even trust themselves with their own records!

See the full article: U.S. patients trust docs, but not e-health records, survey shows

Sadly, patients should not trust their doctors unless they know their doctors’ electronic health records systems do not sell their personal health information.

The public has no idea that many electronic health systems sell their data. Even doctors may not realize the EHR systems in their offices or in hospitals sell patient data. Many claim to sell “de-identified” data, but it is very easy to re-identify health data.

This practice of selling health data was banned in the stimulus bill but has not been implemented in federal regulations, so it continues unabated.

Worse, the proposed regulations are directed ONLY at the use of health data for marketing, NOT at the health data mining industry that sells real-time, sensitive, detailed patient data profiles to corporations, government, and anyone who can pay for it.

The point of the ban on sale of health data without consent was to end the daily sale of every American’s prescription records from all 54,000 pharmacies, to end the sale of health data from electronic health systems and data exchanges, and to end the sale of health data by all the other organizations that are part of the healthcare system food chain like: insurers, state governments, labs, data warehouses, data management companies, the data analytics industry, business associates, secondary and tertiary data users, etc., etc.

See a brief TV investigative story about one EHR vendor that gives the software to doctors for “free” because its business is selling the patient data: http://www.ktvu.com/news/24278317/detail.html