HealthLawProf Blog

Editor: Katharine Van Tassel
Concordia University School of Law

Monday, January 31, 2011

Introducing the First of Our New Co-Editors, Nicolas P. Terry

This week Health Law Prof is very proud to begin the introductions of the four new members of our new blogging team. Today, you will notice several entries from Professor Nicolas P. Terry. Soon, you will see our masthead change to indicate that Professor Terry has been added as one of our new Co-Editors. Here is Professor Terry's bio: 

081028Fram_328[1] Nicolas P. Terry is the Chester A. Myers Professor of Law at Saint Louis University School of Law where he teaches Torts, Products Liability, Health Information Technology, Law & Science, and Health Care Quality. Educated at Kingston University and the University of Cambridge, Professor Terry began his academic career as a member of the law faculty of the University of Exeter in England. He has served as a Senior Fellow at Melbourne Law School and holds the secondary appointment of Professor of Health Management & Policy at the Saint Louis University School of Public Health. He has held visiting faculty positions at the law schools of Santa Clara University, the University of Missouri-Columbia, Washington University, and the University of Iowa. From 2000-08 Professor Terry served as co-director of Saint Louis University’s Center for Health Law Studies — consistently ranked by U.S. News & World Report as the finest health law program in the nation. From 2008-10 Terry served as the School of Law’s Senior Associate Dean. Professor Terry’s research interests lie primarily at the intersection of medicine, law, and information technology. His recent law review publications dealing with health information privacy include “Physicians And Patients Who ‘Friend’ Or ‘Tweet’: Constructing A Legal Framework For Social Networking In A Highly Regulated Domain,” 43 Ind. L. Rev.285-341 (2010); “Personal Health Records: Directing More Costs and Risks to Consumers?” 1 Drexel L. Rev. 216 (2009); “What’s Wrong with Health Privacy?” 5 J.Health & Bio. L. 1-32 (2009), and “Ensuring The Privacy and Confidentiality of Electronic Health Records” (with Leslie P. Francis) 2007 U. Ill. L. Rev. 681-735. 


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Nic Terry’s blog about IMS Health Inc. (posted on Jan. 31) and its court case astutely asks, "…Supreme Court interest notwithstanding, is this brouhaha anything more than a somewhat esoteric objection to drug detailing by a few New England doctors or a mainstream privacy issue?"

Three federal courts have reviewed this question and concluded that such a statute violates the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment right to free speech. Two other federal courts found otherwise. The one issue on which all of the judges agreed was that patient privacy is not at issue in these cases.

Judge Lipez, First Circuit Court of Appeals, voted to uphold the New Hampshire law but also said that, “the regulation does not in any cognizable way touch on the privacy of the examination room.”

Judge Woodcock, U.S. District Court in Maine, who overturned the Maine law, said there was “no evidence that the current practices of the (companies) have had or realistically could have any effect on patient confidentiality.”

And Judge Barbadaro, U.S. District Court in New Hampshire, who first overturned the New Hampshire law pointed out that the Attorney General “does not claim that data is being exploited to compromise patient privacy.”

Vermont said that its law was designed to protect patient privacy and also physician privacy. But Judge Murtha, U.S. District Court in Vermont, who upheld the Vermont law, stated that “prescriber privacy is not a sufficient interest to justify the law.”

IMS Health critics are flatly wrong when they suggest that privacy has anything to do with these pending cases. The outcome of Sorrell v. IMS in the Supreme Court will not have any implications for patient privacy one way or the other. But it will have implications for patient care. IMS data is vital to improving patient case and coverage. We shouldn’t allow false claims of privacy threats to limit usage of such valuable information and insight.

Posted by: Randy Frankel, Vice President, IMS Health | Feb 10, 2011 6:17:25 AM

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