In 2007, the state of Vermont passed a law forbidding the data mining of prescription drug records (i.e., which drugs are being prescribed and how frequently) for marketing purposes. But earlier today, the Supreme Court ruled that the Vermont law interferes with drug makers’ right to free speech.
The law had been intended to protect the privacy of doctors and patients, but six of the Supremes said Big Pharma’s right to hone its marketing pitches is more important.
Writes Justice Kennedy for the majority:
Speech in aid of pharmaceutical marketing… is a form of expression protected by the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment… As a consequence, Vermont’s statute must be subjected to heightened judicial scrutiny. The law cannot satisfy that standard.
Justices Breyer, Bader Ginsburg and Kagan dissented.