Prescriptions and privacy
Kimberly Gray writes:
Much has been made in the media of late [such as in The Journal’s Feb. 10 editorial “Mining your pill purchases”] of the concern of protecting privacy in the Information Age, but as we focus on developing the appropriate protocols, regulations and innovative privacy and security strategies, it does no one any good to falsely assert that a privacy issue exists where none does.
Such is the case with the upcoming U.S. Supreme Court case of Sorrell v. IMS. The issue is whether government, in this instance the State of Vermont, can ban the use of a physician’s prescribing history for marketing of medicine (New Hampshire and Maine have passed similar laws).
Three federal courts have reviewed this question and concluded that such a statute violates the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment right to free speech. Two other federal courts found otherwise. The one issue that they all did agree on was that patient privacy is not at issue in these cases.
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