Next time you take medicine, consider the surprisingly lucrative and circuitous path of that scrap of paper known as a drug prescription form. After the pharmacy fills your order, it sells information about your drug and doctor – though not necessarily about you – to a health-data company, such as IMS Health Inc., Verispan L.L.C. and Wolters Kluwer, all in the Philadelphia area.

The health-data company uses powerful computers to create a scorecard of physicians’ drug preferences by combining your transaction with millions of others from doctors and pharmacies nationwide. The health-data companies resell this information to pharmaceutical companies, which employ thousands of sales representatives to pitch drugs to doctors. Many companies tailor their bonuses for reps and pitches – and sometimes rewards – for individual doctors based on these prescription tallies.

The great state of New Hampshire is trying to put a stop to this tactic by the “big brother” pharmaceutical companies and the pharmacies which sell the data. Last year the state passed a law which prohibits this selling back and forth of health data… and the companies making millions of dollars off the process are fighting back. Two health-data companies are suing the state to block the law as an unconstitutional violation of their commercial rights. New Hampshire’s attorney general defends the law as a legal way to protect physician confidentiality and reduce health-care costs, blamed in part on sales reps’ pushing ever-costlier drugs.

Read the Philadelphia Inquirer’s article on the issue and the litigation here.

Listen to what New Hampshire Public Radio has to say about the lawsuit here.

Dan Frith
Dan Frith

Dan Frith has over 25 years of experience representing individuals and families in cases of medical malpractice throughout Virginia. He has been named "Best Medical Malpractice Attorney" by Roanoker Magazine and is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum. To speak with Dan, contact him by email at