Companies tackle prescribing data laws

In the pharma world, the divide between public and private is often the front line of a fierce market fight. Case in point: A group of companies that buy prescription data and then analyze the haul for information on doctors' prescribing patterns are out to block new state laws that put a freeze on their work. IMS Health, Wolters Kluwer Health and Verispan are going to court in Maine and Vermont, saying their new laws would simply block access to vital data without doing a thing to lower the cost of pharmaceuticals. The new legislation would also crimp their data sales to pharma companies, who use the information to market their drugs.

Some physicians have howled in protest about having their prescribing habits tracked--but recent reports suggest that few have signed up on new registries designed to keep those habits private. The states, meanwhile, say they learned from a recent lawsuit involving New Hampshire and will take up the battle with the data companies.

- see the release on the suit
- here's the report from the Wall Street Journal (sub. req.)

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