Tell CVS and Walgreens to stop selling our prescription drug data

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I applied for supplemental life insurance last year and got a call from the insurance company asking me about an anti-anxiety medication I had taken seven years ago. I had forgotten all about the medication, but the insurance company had a ten year history of every prescription I had ever filled!

Thanks to a loophole in the law, your prescription drug history is not private. It is being collected into databases -- with your identifying information -- and sold to insurers, health care providers, and any administrative functions related to healthcare, including employers' benefits managers.

Most people assume that HIPAA laws would protect your prescription data (it doesn't), and that the forms you sign at the doctor's office about privacy rights would pertain also to the prescriptions (they don't). There are companies that generate "prescription drug reports" that can include up to ten years of prescription data about individuals. They do this by collecting information from Pharmacy Benefit Managers (the two giants are CVS Caremark and Express Scripts/Medco), pharmacy data clearinghouses, and retail pharmacies.

There is no informed consent, and no opt in/opt out. This is dangerous and wrong for many reasons. It can result in numerous forms of discrimination (e.g., employers who don't want to keep an employee that has a long-term condition). It could cause people to not get treatment for things they don't want to get into their record (e.g., what happens to public health if people stop getting prescriptions for health issues they don't want their employer to know about?)

The two largest prescription drug report companies are Milliman Intelliscript and Medpoint (Ingenix). There is also a company called Medical Information Bureau (MIB) that is a partnership of 500 insurance companies that exchange information on applicants. If you have applied for insurance, a report has probably been created on you.

Get free copies of your prescription history reports here:

Milliman Intelli Script: 877-211-4816, or
Igenix MedPoint: 888-206-0335
MIB: 866-692-6901,

Let’s tell the pharmacies, insurance companies, and regulators that this is a violation of our rights. We can change this.

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