Supremes strike down Vermont data law

The Supreme Court came down on the side of data firms, overturning a Vermont law banning the sale of prescription data to pharmas because it violates First Amendment speech protections.

The 6-3 ruling caps an epic three-year court battle and dooms similar legislation pending in two dozen states, along with laws already on the books in Maine and New Hampshire. Had it been upheld, the Vermont law would have meant major upheaval in how drug companies market their products to physicians.

In its opinion, the majority concluded: “That the State finds expression too persuasive does not permit it to quiet the speech or to burden its messengers.”

“Today's ruling is clear and unmistakable,” said Harvey Ashman of IMS Health, which fought the law, together with SDI, Wolters Kluwer's Source Healthcare Analytics and PhRMA. “These types of laws violate the Constitution and do nothing to improve healthcare, reduce costs or protect privacy as proponents had claimed. Transparency is vitally important to advancing healthcare. The availability of information on the prescribing practices of physicians enables communications about new medicines, best practices and safety updates. This information is essential to improved patient care and safety.
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