A bit of breaking news on a topic we have not looked at for some time, courtesy the Prescription Project.
Two bills, from Vermont and New Hampshire, that would restrict medical information companies from using physicians' prescription data and selling the data to drug companies to assist with marketing (as when the drug rep goes into the doc's office knowing exactly how many prescriptions the doc has written for the company's drug and all competitor drugs), have been essentially on hold as the court system decided what to do about them. The U.S. Supreme Court has now refused to review the New Hampshire law; and a New York federal court has refused to issue an injunction against the Vermont law, which goes into effect tomorrow.
The laws basically hold that physicians' prescription data are confidential and you cannot sell them without the physicians' permission. The rulings are a defeat for the pharmaceutical industry which relies heavily on these data sources--not to mention the commercial outfits that sell the data for megabucks. Prescription Project offers a fact sheet on the data mining issue at: http://www.prescriptionproject.org/solutions/rrf?id=0001.