How powerful is the drug lobby?
In a 6-3 decision in Sorrell v. IMS Health, Inc., No. 10-779, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a Vermont law that restricted the use of prescriber histories for purposes of marketing or promoting pharmaceutical products to physicians.
“We are very pleased that the Supreme Court has made clear that data mining for marketing purposes is fully protected by the First Amendment,” said Dan Jaffe, Executive Vice President of Government Relations for the Association of National Advertisers (ANA).
ANA filed a “friend of the court” brief with the Supreme Court in March urging the Court to strike down the Vermont law. They were joined in the brief by the American Advertising Federation (AAF) and the American Association of Advertising Agencies (AAAA).
Because data mining is free speech? Is this some kind of joke? Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy (D) doesn’t think so.
“Today the Supreme Court has overturned a sensible Vermont law that sought to protect the privacy of the doctor-patient relationship. This divided ruling is a win for data miners and large corporations and a loss for those of us who care about privacy not only in my home state of Vermont but across the nation. States like Vermont must be able to protect the privacy of sensitive information exchanged between a doctor and patient,” Leahy said.