Published on June 29, 2011 at 9:36 PM
By Ananya Mandal, MD
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the pharmaceutical companies could use the information that they gained from doctors’ prescribing records. The data mining had been restricted in Maine following the high court ruling that struck down a similar law in Vermont.
Federal Courts in Boston upheld the data mining restrictions appeal for Maine and New Hampshire. The New York based appeals court struck down the Vermont law. The information being collected by the pharmaceutical companies can be put to use in developing better drugs, but are also seen as an invasion of privacy.
The Supreme Court finally ruled that the law unfairly restricted the data mining of the pharmaceutical companies and that they could access the information on doctors prescriptions as long as the patient’s names were not mentioned.
This way the privacy of the individual patient is assured and the needs for data on patients and rug usage is available to the big pharmaceutical companies. The order also directed the Boston based court to have a look at the Maine law after the ruling.