St. Louis-based Express Scripts, a company that manages prescription drug costs for the state's health insurance plan has been selling information about what medications subscribers took and what prescriptions physicians wrote.

They say they are stopping the practice, after receiving complaints.

According to a letter obtained by The Charleston Gazette, an Express Scripts executive says the company never sold PEIA information directly to pharmaceutical manufacturers. But PEIA medication data was sold to two health-care "data aggregators."

These middle-men typically compile and analyze prescription information and then sell it to drug companies.

Complainants for ending the selling of the information say drug companies boost income by using the information to encourage doctors to prescribe brand name medications instead of cheaper, generic equivalents.

The selling of the information affects tens of thousands of employees of state and county governments covered by PEIA.

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