VT to revise data-mining law

Vermont is apparently determined to restrict data-mining--so determined that it delayed implementation of a new law curtailing it. Facing a free-speech lawsuit, the state's attorney general decided to hold the law back until at least September so that legislators could tweak the law to thwart its critics.

The data-mining issue is contentious partly because some companies--IMS Health, for instance--make their living by selling info on docs' prescriptions to drug companies. Not to mention the fact that this information is one of the cornerstones of pharma marketing. Sales reps use it to identify physicians whose prescribing habits might be open to profitable changes--such as a switch to their companies' products. State critics say that drives up healthcare costs, because reps steer doctors toward more expensive drugs. But IMS and its brethren say laws against data-mining keep valuable info out of doctors' hands.

- read the article from the Boston Globe