Right now, pharmacies are allowed to transfer or sell off assets--including prescribing information, Social Security numbers and medical data--to anyone they choose, thanks to a loophole in HIPAA. This is a sharp contrast with other areas of medicine; for example, doctors are required by federal law to let patients know whenever they share that patient's information. But this doesn't sit well with Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY). He's asking HHS secretary Michael Leavitt to push for changes in the law. Schumer would like to see rules require pharmacies to inform patients before they sell or transfer medical records. Patients would then have the right to opt out of the transfer.
To learn more about the issue:
- read this Newsday article