Supreme showdown in Rx data case this month

Can Vermont bar companies from mining doctors' prescribing data and selling it to drug makers, unless doctors consent, or does such a law violate the First Amendment?
That's the question the Supreme Court is scheduled to take up April 26 when it hears arguments for and against reversing the Second Circuit's decision in Sorrell v. IMS Health. The outcome, expected in June, is likely to resolve the constitutionality of Vermont's statute and similar laws in New Hampshire and Maine, notwithstanding minor differences.
The US Department of Justice, 34 states and the District of Columbia joined Vermont AG William Sorrell in filing briefs supporting his state's law.
Several medical groups did too: the American Academy of Family Practitioners, American Academy of Pediatrics and the New England Journal of Medicine.
Regarding these “friend of the court” briefs, Vermont assistant AG Bridget Asay told MM&M:“It's an important representation of how much doctors care about this issue.”  
The Supreme Court decision to hear the case follows a victory for data providers in Vermont last November. In that state, a federal appeals court reversed a district court ruling that limited the commercial exchange of prescriber data.
The Second US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the law in Vermont infringed on First Amendment protections by limiting the free exchange of commercial information. In December, Sorrell filed a petition with the high court, which then agreed to hear the case.
You must be a registered member of MMM to post a comment.

Email Newsletters


As US pharma continued its quest for a Grand Prix at the Lions Health international festival of creativity, MM&M went on location to Cannes, France. Missed our coverage from June? Now, we're giving you an opportunity to catch up on some of what you missed. Download our e-book on the two-day festival, recapping the event, rounding up the best of the speakers, offering perspective and listing all of the winners. Click here to download.


The most recent MM&M Skill Sets Live event surveyed a range of issues relating to one of the hottest promotional spaces in healthcare. Speakers and panelists at the morning-long session, including promotional- and multichannel-minded executives from GSK, Epocrates, Treato and Montefiore Medical Center, weighed in on topics designed to help marketers demystify the challenges associated with non-personal promotion. Click here.