Nicole Gaouette reports:
Patientsâ€™ advocates claimed victory in a battle over the privacy of health records as the U.S. Congress prepares to vote on the economic stimulus bill, which contains $19 billion for health-care information.
U.S. House and Senate negotiatorsâ€™ compromise reflects stricter standards that privacy advocates wanted for marketing, selling and disclosing health data. Both houses may vote on the $789 billion stimulus today.
Currently, drug companies can pay pharmacies to mine patient data for sales pitches. The bill would require pharmacies, including CVS Caremark Corp., the pharmacy-benefits manager and drugstore chain, to get customer permission to market drugs they arenâ€™t already taking.
The bill also would tighten restrictions on the sale of medical data and require patients be told when their records are disclosed.
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