Without evidence of benefit, an intervention should not be presumed to be beneficial or safe.

- Rogue Medic

HIPAA vs. Advertising

The recent US Supreme Court decision in Sorrell v. IMS Health is described this way –

In the second decision, the court by a 6-3 vote struck down a Vermont law that barred pharmacies, drug makers and others from buying or selling prescription records from patients for marketing purposes. Vermont’s physicians had sought passage of the law, arguing that their prescriptions were intended for private use of patients and should not become a marketing tool.

Drug makers buy this data to gear their sales pitches to physicians. Several data-mining firms have made a billion-dollar business out of buying and selling the prescription data to drug makers and researchers.[1]

Warning – This is an oversimplification of the ruling. A detailed explanation of the ruling is available at Sorrell v. IMS Health (110-779) from SCOTUSblog.

PS – The stick figures are from xkcd, because my drawing is even worse than my writing. 😳

Footnotes:

[1] Supreme Court sides with pharmaceutical industry in two decisions
By David G. Savage, Los Angeles Times
June 24, 2011
Article

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Comments

  1. Delivering better patient care is not a billion dollar industry in profit…seems like the justices made the right decision. If we can’t make money off healthier patients, we shouldn’t pursue it at all.

    • Christopher,

      Delivering better patient care is not a billion dollar industry in profit…seems like the justices made the right decision. If we can’t make money off healthier patients, we shouldn’t pursue it at all.

      Ah, sarcasm on top of sarcasm. We could create an ever-expanding mass of sarcasm that becomes a black hole ans swallows the world, or at least all of the blissful ignorance in the world. MwaHaHaHa.

      .

      • When I read the decision my mind immediately collapsed into a black hole of disbelief and cynicism. If it wasn’t for the fast thinking of my Sarcasm Center I may not have recovered.

        • Christopher,

          When I read the decision my mind immediately collapsed into a black hole of disbelief and cynicism. If it wasn’t for the fast thinking of my Sarcasm Center I may not have recovered.

          The decision is specific to the way the law was applied differently to commercial and to state use of the lists. As far as that goes, It is reasonable.

          The problem is that our medical information is being used by either of them for advertising purposes. The court appears to have been examining minutia, while ignoring the systemic problem.

          I actually ended up avoiding the black hole, but reappeared as a whale and a bowl of petunias, again.

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