Biotech Companies & Datamining

From the Milford Daily News: Biotech companies testify on data mining

Drug makers and health insurance officials challenged a proposed law that would limit information about which medicines are the most popular in Massachusetts, saying that a ban on “data mining” would cost both consumers and the state’s biotech industry.

Testimony yesterday before the Joint Healthcare Financing Committee chaired by state Sen. Richard T. Moore, D-Uxbridge, focused on bills that would ban transfers of prescription information containing patient-identifiable information for commercial purposes.

The process, known as “data mining,” is used to determine trends in prescription drug use. Generic drug companies, which use trend data to determine what brands to make, claim that without the use of data mining, patients would continue to use brand name medicines at a much higher cost….

It’s worth nothing that there are 2 distinct kinds of issues at play here. One is about harms & benefits. The other is about rights (in particular, the right to control information).

It’s also worth nothing that governments are likely to be thinking about balancing two competing goals, here. First, protecting the privacy of citizens in their jurisdiction. And second, catering to the needs of an industry that stands to bring wealth to that jurisdiction.


About Chris MacDonald

I'm a philosopher who teaches at Ryerson University's Ted Rogers School of Management in Toronto, Canada. Most of my scholarly research is on business ethics and healthcare ethics.
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