WA attempts prescription data mining ban

So far, states have been facing vigorous industry opposition to proposed limits collecting physician prescription data, but that hasn't stopped Washington state from making its own attempt. Lawmakers in Washington now are considering a bill that would ban what has become a standard practice--collecting prescription data from pharmacies and cross-matching it against doctors' prescription ID numbers. The bill would make exceptions for research and product-recall purposes. Supporters of the bill say that the current practice gives pharmaceutical vendors too much leverage over doctors, helping them to pressure physicians into prescribing costly drugs that may not be needed. Opponents of the bill--largely "data mining" companies like IMS Health, McKesson Corp. and Verispan--say that the bill isn't needed, since doctors can already opt out of such databases. They also contend that such limits unfairly limit constitutionally-protected commercial speech. The latter argument has worked before (in New Hampshire, for example, where a similar ban was struck down), so this bill has an uncertain future at best.

To learn more about this measure:
- read this Seattle Post-Intelligencer article

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