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July 3, 2011

US Rules Out Drug Data Ban

The US will not ban the sale of prescription drug data collected by pharmacies to drug manufacturers, it has been ruled. The US Supreme Court voted 6-3 against the state of Vermont's legislation to prohibit the sale of such data, arguing that "information is speech" and "speech in aid o

By cms admin

The US will not ban the sale of prescription drug data collected by pharmacies to drug manufacturers, it has been ruled.

The US Supreme Court voted 6-3 against the state of Vermont’s legislation to prohibit the sale of such data, arguing that “information is speech” and “speech in aid of pharmaceutical marketing” is a form of expression protected by the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment.

Justice Anthony Kennedy, delivering the majority decision, was quoted in PharmaTimes as saying Vermont “has burdened a form of protected expression that it found too persuasive. At the same time, the state has left unburdened those speakers whose messages are in accord with its own views.”

However, three justices argued that the prohibition on drug manufacturers ensured unbiased sales presentations, the prevention of high drug costs and the protection of the privacy of prescribing physicians.

Vermont also argues that heightened judicial scrutiny is unwarranted because the sale, transfer and use of prescriber-identifying information are conduct, not speech.

Pharmacies receive prescriber-identifying information when processing prescriptions and sell the information to ‘data miners’, who produce reports on prescriber behaviour and lease their reports to pharmaceutical manufacturers.

‘Detailers’ employed by pharmaceutical manufacturers then use the reports to refine their marketing tactics and increase sales to doctors.

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