Opening medical records to pharmaceutical companies

By CMTA Staff

Capitol Update, March 21, 2008 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

If SB 1096 (Ron Calderon, D-Montebello) were to pass, pharmaceutical companies would be able to gain access to medical records to send reminders to patients to refill prescriptions. The bill would allow companies to purchase information from the pharmacies that serve individual patients; however, it would require the companies to disclose on all mailings to the patient that the pharmacy profited from selling the information. Opponents to the measure suggest that the bill is a violation of privacy rights.

Proponents of the measure, such as the Mental Health Association of California, have indicated that the legislation would benefit people taking prescription pills for conditions such as physiological disorders. Furthermore, proponents of the measure believe that the pharmacy disclosure component of the bill would provide sufficient consumer protection.

The disclosure would have to be printed in "14-point type" on the mailer and allow a way for recipients to opt out of receiving future communications from the company. The law also requires sending a copy of the mailing to the federal Food and Drug Administration. Additionally, companies that receive the information would also be subject to privacy laws that would ban them from passing patient information on, or using it for any other purposes. The mailings would not be allowed to contain advertisements for products other than the medication that would treat the patient's current condition.

The bill failed to pass out of the Senate Health Committee on March 12, but was granted reconsideration and is to be taken up again on March 26.
Read more Safety & Health articles

Capitol updates archive 989898989