Rx data: A setback for doctors in Maine

January 18, 2008

Following the lead of a 2007 ruling in New Hampshire, a federal judge in Maine has overturned a law that would have restricted access to information on doctors' prescribing habits.

Following the lead of a 2007 ruling in New Hampshire, a federal judge in Maine has overturned a law that would have restricted access to information on doctors' prescribing habits. The legislation was aimed at stopping healthcare information companies from collecting, analyzing, and selling data about doctors' prescribing patterns to drug companies. The successful challenge was brought by three data mining companies: IMS Health, Wolters Kluwer Health, and Verispan. "It's vital that provider-level prescription information remain accessible," said Randy Frankel, IMS vice president for external affairs, "because it has proven value in efforts to monitor safety and manage quality, treatment variability, and healthcare costs."

An appeal in the Maine case is expected. Meanwhile, a similar case in another New England state, Vermont, is pending.

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