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  • Tuesday, November 16, 2004


    Drug Store Cowboys and Your Privacy

    This is just one reason why regulations protecting privacy are necessary. Free market proponents say that regulations on corporations stifle trade. Perhaps but sometimes individuals need protection from the unrestrained actions of corporations. Suppose your entire medical history was available for public viewing? Suppose every medication you've ever taken was viewable? You've got nothing to hide? What would a list of the drugs you've been prescribed look like? A list of medications without a list of medical conditions they were proscribed for? Just a thought. From AlterNet: DrugReporter: Drug Store Cowboys:

    Manufacturing legal drugs is a growth industry and the latest twist in the multi-billion dollar drug-pushing game is that your local pharmacy may be turning into a marketing agency for the big drug companies.

    The Privacy Rights Clearinghouse (PRC), a consumer advocacy group, filed a lawsuit in September against supermarket giant Albertsons in California Superior Court, for allegedly selling the private prescription drug information of its customers to pharmaceutical companies. PRC also named 17 pharmaceutical heavyweights, like AstraZeneca, Eli Lilly and GlaxoSmithKline, as co-defendants, claiming that the companies use the information to promote their drugs through unsolicited phone calls and letters.

    According to PRC, the drug companies have been paying Albertsons between $3.00 and $4.50 for every promotional letter written and between $12.00 and $15.00 for every phone call made to unwitting customers. Albertsons, the group maintains, stands to make millions in the process. PRC says both Albertsons and the drug companies are breaking California law because customers are never given the option of signing up to receive the calls or letters as mandated by the state's privacy regulations.

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