A U.S. District Court judge in New Hampshire has ruled that a state law passed last year attempting to curb the use of prescription drug data to profile physician prescribing habits and other commercial activities was an unconstitutional infringement of a corporate right to free speech, according to a written statement by the two plaintiffs in the case.
The plaintiffs are data-miners IMS Heath and Verispan, the corporate name for a consolidation of data-miners Quintiles Transnational Corp., Scott-Levin Associates and pharmaceutical wholesaler and healthcare information technology vendor McKesson Corp.
IMS Health and Verispan filed their legal challenge soon after the law went into effect in June 2006.
A host of pharmaceutical marketing and healthcare IT support groups filed "friend of the court" briefs on behalf of the plaintiffs.
The case went to trial in February.
In a news release, IMS Senior Vice President and General Counsel Robert Steinfeld said, "We know some states are still considering legislation modeled on the New Hampshire law. This important decision clarifies that the Constitution protects the dissemination of provider-identifiable information, which is also vital to ensure patient safety and improve healthcare quality." -- by Joseph Conn