Your Rx or your privacy

Source: Los Angeles Times (Free Registration)

IMS Health Inc. operates in the shadows of the healthcare industry, gathering data that drug makers can use to sell medications more effectively. The data, however, are taken from the prescriptions that doctors write for their patients. That information is at the heart of a dispute over how far states can go to protect privacy — a dispute that has reached the Supreme Court, and one that could broaden the reach of the 1st Amendment in troubling ways. IMS and a handful of market research competitors pay pharmacists for the details contained in prescriptions, including the name of the doctor and the patient, the drug prescribed and the dosage.

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