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Introduced by Representatives Chen of Mendon and Pugh of S. Burlington

Referred to Committee on


Subject:  Health; prescription drugs; data mining; privacy

Statement of purpose:  This bill proposes to ensure confidentiality of patient prescription records and prevent the use of this information for commercial purposes.


It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:

Sec. 1.  Chapter 91 of Title 18 is amended to read:



Sec. 2.  18 V.S.A. chapter 91, sections 4601–4608 are designated as subchapter 1 which is added to read:

Subchapter 1.  Generic Drugs

Sec. 3.  Subchapter 2 of chapter 91 of Title 18 is added to read:

Subchapter 2.  Information Requirements

§ 4621.  Confidentiality of Prescription Information

(a)  The general assembly finds that it has become an increasingly common practice for information identifying physicians and other prescribers in prescription records to be used to target pharmaceutical marketing and gifts toward physicians who prescribe the most expensive drugs for their patients.  This practice raises drug costs for all Vermont residents and compromises the professional autonomy of physicians.  It is the intent of the general assembly to ensure the privacy of Vermonters and health care professionals by prohibiting the commercial use of prescription information.

(b)  As used in this subchapter:

(1)  “Commercial purpose” shall include advertising, marketing, promotion, or any activity that is intended to be used or is used to influence sales or the market share of a pharmaceutical product, to influence or evaluate the prescribing behavior of an individual health care professional, market prescription drugs to patients, or to evaluate the effectiveness of a professional pharmaceutical detailing sales force.

(2)  “Electronic transmission intermediary” means an entity that provides the infrastructure that connects the computer systems or other electronic devices used by health care providers, prescribers, pharmacies, health care facilities and pharmacy benefit managers, health insurers, third-party administrators, and agents and contractors of those persons in order to facilitate the secure transmission of an individual’s prescription drug order, refill, authorization request, claim, payment, or other prescription drug information.

(3)  “Health care facility” shall have the same meaning as in section 9402 of this title.

(4)  “Health insurer” shall have the same meaning as in section 9410 of this title.

(5)  “Health care provider” shall have the same meaning as in section 9402 of this title.

(6)  “Pharmacy” means any individual or entity licensed or registered under chapter 36 of Title 26.

(7)  “Prescriber” means an individual allowed by law to prescribe and administer prescription drugs in the course of professional practice.

(8)  “Regulated records” means information or documentation from a prescription written by a prescriber doing business in Vermont or a prescription dispensed in Vermont.

(c)  A health insurer, a self-insured employer, an electronic transmission intermediary, a pharmacy, or other similar entity shall not license, transfer, use, or sell regulated records which include prescription information containing patient-identifiable or prescriber-identifiable data for any commercial purpose.

(d)  This section shall not apply to:

(1)  the license, transfer, use, or sale of regulated records for the limited purposes of pharmacy reimbursement; prescription drug formulary compliance; patient care management; utilization review by a health care provider, the patient’s health insurance provider, or the agent of either; health care research; or as otherwise provided by law;

(2)  the dispensing of prescription medications to a patient or to the patient’s authorized representative;

(3)  the transmission of prescription information between an authorized prescriber and a licensed pharmacy, between licensed pharmacies, or that may occur in the event a pharmacy’s ownership is changed or transferred;

(4)  care management educational communications provided to a patient about the patient’s health condition, adherence to a prescribed course of therapy and other information relating to the drug being dispensed, treatment options, or clinical trials;

(5)  the use or disclosure of prescription information as authorized by chapter 84 or 84A, or both, of Title 18; and

(6)  the collection, use, transfer, or sale of patient and prescriber

data for commercial purposes if the data does not identify a person and there is no reasonable basis to believe that the data provided could be used to identify a person.

(e)  In addition to any other remedy provided by law, the attorney general may file an action in superior court for a violation of this section or of rules adopted under this section.  The attorney general shall have the same authority to investigate and to obtain remedies as if the action were brought under the consumer fraud act, chapter 63 of Title 9.  Each violation of this section or of rules adopted under this section constitutes a separate civil violation for which the attorney general may obtain relief. 

Sec. 4.  18 V.S.A. § 9410(e) is amended to read:

(e)(1)  Records or information protected by the provisions of the physician‑patient privilege under subsection 1612(a) of Title 12, or otherwise required by law to be held confidential, shall be filed in a manner that does not disclose the identity of the protected person.

(2)  Records or information protected by section 4621 of this title shall be filed in a manner that does not disclose the identity of the patient or the prescriber.

Sec. 5.  Recodification

The following sections of Title 33 are recodified as follows:

(1)  Section 2008 shall be section 4624 of Title 18.

(2)  Section 2006 shall be section 852 of Title 2.

Sec. 6.  Repeal

Section 2009 of Title 33 is repealed.

Sec. 7.  Effective Date

This act shall take effect upon passage.

Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont