Supreme Court strikes down Rx data mining law

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court has struck down a law in Vermont designed to encourage generic drug usage by limiting the sharing of information about what branded drugs doctors prescribe, so that drug companies could use it when crafting sales pitches, according to published reports.

The Associated Press reported that justices voted 6-3 against a law in Vermont that had banned pharmacies from selling de-identified information about branded drug prescriptions to data-mining companies without doctors’ permission. Typically, the data-mining companies provide the data to drug makers, which use it when determining how to market their medications to doctors.

AP reported that the ruling could also affect similar laws in Maine and New Hampshire. In his majority opinion, justice Anthony Kennedy wrote that the law violated free speech rights, but justice Stephen Breyer wrote in his dissent that the law was a regulation of business activity and thus constitutional.

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