SENATE, No. 1275

By Mr. Moore, a petition (accompanied by bill, Senate, No. 1275) of Richard T. Moore for legislation to protect the confidentiality of patient prescription records. Public Health.
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The Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Seal of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

In the Year Two Thousand and Seven.


AN ACT protecting the confidentiality of patient prescription records

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:

SECTION 1.† Chapter 94C of the general laws, as most recently appearing in the 2004 Official Edition, is hereby amended by inserting after section 34, the following new section: -

Section 34A. Unlawful Use of Prescription Information.

(a) No person, including any pharmacy benefits manager, insurance company, electronic transmission intermediary, retail, mail order, or Internet pharmacy or other similar entity, shall license, transfer, use, sell or lease records relative to prescription information containing patient-identifiable and prescriber-identifiable data, for any commercial purpose, except for the limited purposes of pharmacy reimbursement; formulary compliance; care management; utilization review by a health care provider, the patientís insurance provider or the agent of either; health care research; or as otherwise provided by law. For purpose of this section, a prescriber is any health care professional legally authorized to issue prescriptions for medication.† Commercial purpose includes, but is not limited to, advertising, marketing, promotion, or any activity that could be used to influence sales or market share of a pharmaceutical product, influence or evaluate the prescribing behavior of an individual health care professional, or evaluate the effectiveness of a professional pharmaceutical detailing sales force. Nothing in this section shall prohibit the dispensing of prescription medications to a patient or to the patientís authorized representative; the transmission of prescription information between an authorized prescriber and a licensed pharmacy; the transfer of prescription information between licensed pharmacies; the transfer of prescription records that may occur in the event a pharmacy ownership is changed or transferred; care management educational communications provided to a patient about the patientís health condition, adherence to a prescribed course of therapy or other information about the drug being dispensed, treatment options, or clinical trials. Nothing in this section shall prohibit the collection, use, transfer, or sale of patient and prescriber de-identified data by zip code, geographic region, or medical specialty for commercial purposes.

(b) Whoever violates any provision of this section shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for not more than four years or in a house of correction for not more than two and one half years or by a fine of not more than twenty thousand dollars, or by both such fine and imprisonment. Whoever violates any provision of this section after one or more prior convictions of a violation of this section, or of a felony under any other provision of this chapter, or under a provision of prior law relative to the sale or manufacture of a narcotic drug or a harmful drug as defined in said earlier law shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for not more than eight years or in a jail or house of correction for not more than two and one half years, or by a fine of not more than thirty thousand dollars or by both such fine and imprisonment.

(c) In addition to other appropriate remedies under this chapter, a violation of this section is an unfair or deceptive act or practice within the meaning of section 2 of chapter 93A of the general laws. Any right or remedy set forth in chapter 93A may be used to enforce the provisions of this section.

SECTION 2. This act shall take effect upon passage.