IMS Health stock falls, as data mining ban pitched

AP News
Posted: Dec 11, 2009 2:28 PM

Shares of IMS Health Inc. tumbled Friday, a day after an amendment was introduced to the Senate health care overhaul bill that would effectively ban pharmaceutical data mining.

The amendment would end the drug company practice of buying prescription records to target sales pitches to doctors. Sens. Herb Kohl of Wisconsin and Dick Durbin of Illinois said the measure will "restrain undue influence" of pharmaceutical salespersons.

Norwalk, Conn.-based IMS Health runs a multimillion-dollar business around gathering prescription data and selling the information to drug companies, which use the data to identify doctor prescribing patterns.

The House of Representatives already passed its version of the bill, which opted to study the issue of data mining, not limit it. The Senate has been debating its health care bill since the beginning of last week, and the two Congressional houses will merge their bills if one survives the Senate.

IMS Health said last month it is being bought by investment funds TPG Capital and CPP Investment Board in a leveraged buyout valued at $5.2 billion, including assumed debt.

IMS Health shares fell $1.37, or 6.41 percent, to $19.99 in afternoon trading. Meanwhile, the Standard & Poor's 500 index rose less than 1 percent.