Public Health

How Your Medical Data Fuels a Hidden Multi Billion Dollar Industry

Time
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How Your Medical Data Fuels a Hidden Multi Billion Dollar Industry

Hidden profit at your expense?

In this Time article, you'll learn about:

  • What type of data is being sold

" Prescription records, blood tests, doctor notes, hospital visits and insurance records are all sold to commercial companies, which gather years of health information on hundreds of millions of people. "

  • Who is collecting and digesting this data

" This big health data bazaar emerged from an industry created to help big pharmaceutical companies sell more drugs. For example, detailed reports help their salespeople target pitches to individual doctors based on what drugs they prescribe."

  • Proposed solutions to protect consumers

" A better solution would have the government extend privacy protections to all medical data, both identified and anonymized. That would mean outside companies could not buy and sell such information without explicit consent. Under such a system, patients could agree to share their information to help science in the future, but the choice should be theirs, not that of an outside company unknown to the patient. "

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