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VLP Partner Michael Whitener Quoted in Corporate Counsel Article “Lawyers Say New Digital Pill Raises Consent, Data Security Issues”

Posted on Nov 27, 2017 in News by Michael L. Whitener

VLP data privacy and cybersecurity Partner Michael Whitener was quoted in the Corporate Counsel article “Lawyers Say New Digital Pill Raises Consent, Data Security Issues.”

The article reported on a new pill embedded with a sensor that can tell doctors if and when patients take their prescribed medication. Citing studies that state prescription medication nonadherence cost the American health care system billions of dollars a year and also causes about 125,000 deaths annually, the article also noted that data privacy lawyers are warning about consent and data security issues associated with the new technology.

“The slippery slope danger is really real,” Mr. Whitener said.

According to the article, the use of the technology is voluntary, but privacy attorneys interviewed said they can anticipate a time when pharmaceutical companies, insurers and even employers could offer incentives to take the digital pill, raising the question of whether use in such a circumstance is truly voluntary and constitutes informed consent.

“It’s a carrot-and-stick arrangement with an insurance company or employer,” Mr. Whitener told Corporate Counsel. “You’ve agreed to share the data, but how are they using the data? Are they using it strictly to see if you comply with your treatment, or are they going to try and monetize the data?”

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