The US Supreme Court ordered a lower court to reappraise its ruling upholding a Maine data-mining law, after striking down a similar statute in Vermont last June.
Companies expressed confidence that Maine's law limiting industry's ability to buy information about the prescribing practices of individual physicians would also be thrown out by the First Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston.
“The decision should lead to an order holding that the [Maine] statute is unconstitutional,” said SDI in a statement, adding that the two states' laws are “very similar” to each other.
Jody Fisher, SDI's VP of marketing, said the company is now exploring legal and legislative options for clarifying the situation in a third state, New Hampshire.
Fisher said one option includes petitioning the New Hampshire legislature for a repeal of the law.
“We don't want to find ourselves in a position where we're taking any risk with the data we're disseminating,” he said.
New Hampshire's data-mining law is even more restrictive, banning the practice of selling prescription information altogether. The First Circuit upheld the law, and data companies tried to get the Supreme Court to take up the case, but justices denied their writ.
Another option involves going back to court to see if there is a way to enjoin the NH law in light of the circumstances surrounding the Vermont law. In June the high court voted 6-3 to reject the Vermont prescription data law.