The DoH, the NHS Information Centre and the NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA) are considering changing existing rules for releasing prescription data in England.
Sources say this is being done with a view to publishing detailed statistics on GP prescribing.
But critics have warned that the release of prescribing data could lead to individual GPs being targeted by patients and drug companies.
Dr Bill Beeby, chairman of the GPC prescribing subcommittee, said: ‘The people that work within the NHS who need to know this type of information already do.
‘I am not sure what benefit prescribing data will have for the general public.
‘It could lead to confidentiality problems because the prescribing habits of individual GPs could be identified.'
The data could be abused by patients to find and switch to the GPs that prescribe the most drugs, or drugs for certain conditions, said Dr Beeby.
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