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Data miners fight law that shields doctors

Boston Globe, August 21, 2008
When most patients go to the pharmacy to fill a new prescription, they don't think twice about turning over the note from their doctor. But to the world's largest drug makers, the information is an invaluable sales tool that they use to track what drugs individual doctors are prescribing. Companies like IMS Health Inc., have built an industry around gathering prescription data and selling the information to pharmaceutical companies for millions of dollars each year. But now such companies are fighting laws in three New England states to keep prescribing information out of their hands.