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Health Data Privacy
The FBI is investigating an extortion attempt against Express Scripts, a major pharmacy benefits manager. According to the New York Times, the company has received a letter "threatening to expose millions" of stolen patient records. Express Scripts, which noted that "a small number of its clients recently received letters threatening to expose the personal information," is working with authorities and has established a website to provide the public with updated information and help in protecting against identity theft.

Unfortunately, the criminal actions against the PBM and its customers are being used by at least one NGO to promote an agenda for vastly increasing federal regulation of health care. Consumer Watchdog, which describes itself as "a nationally recognized consumer group that has been fighting corrupt corporations and crooked politicians since 1985" is citing the cyber-crime as justification for regulatory changes aimed at promoting its anti-corporate goals, not protecting consumers.

For example, a senior CW official opined that the Obama Administration should oversee and regulate all "patient databases held by for-profit companies." Why CW would consider databases held at for-profit companies to be more vulnerable than those held by non-profits or governments is unclear. Alternatively, it is not clear why CW thinks patients who have personal information held by non-profit companies or government agencies deserve less protection than other consumers.

Protecting patient health data will be a significant issue in any health care legislation. Such protections, however, need to be based on proven technologies, cost effectiveness, and consumer choice.

See article

See Express Scripts Supports site

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