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update on pharmacies

I'm happy to forward (with permission) this update and reassurance on the
pharmacy situation from Steven Melamut (  I am myself
only partly reassured, and the underlying issue -- that others hold
information about us that can now be used in scary ways -- remains.

Jim O'Donnell
Classics, U. of Penn

 Steven Melamut wrote:

1. Use by the pharmacies may be a breach of confidentiality laws of individual
states or of professional ethics.
2. They were primarily using the letters to remind people to refill overdue
3. They never gave the lists to any drug manufacturers. The list was used by a
mass-mailer / database company under contract with the drug chain. There were
privacy requirements in the contract.
4. The only drug mentioned in the five news articles I read was a product for
giving up smoking. The letter promoting the drug was paid for by the
manufacturer, but it was not sent by the manufacturer. 

The facts described in your email suprised me, so I double checked them.
Please be accurate in your postings.

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