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For several years, concern has been mounting about the privacy implications of using and disclosing prescription data. Several transactions forming part of a growing chain of valuable health information have come under scrutiny, including 1) the sale or transfer of prescription data from pharmacies to commercial data brokers;2) processing of the data to analyze physicians' prescribing patterns; 3)the subsequent sale of these prescribing patterns to pharmaceutical companies, among others, that use this information to customize their marketing strategies aimed at physicians. In part one of this two-part series, we discussed privacy concerns with respect to prescribers. In this second installment, we examine the privacy risks to patients from Canadian and US perspectives.
Date of Publication: March-April 2009