A federal appeals court in New York has overturned a Vermont law seeking to restrict the use of prescription drug data in the marketing of pharmaceuticals to physicians.
A win for drug data-mining
Vermont law restricting marketing overturned
The ruling by a majority of the three-judge panel in the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals came in favor of the appellants—IMS Health; Verispan; Source Healthcare Analytics, a subsidiary of Wolters Kluwer Health; and the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America—and found the 2007 Vermont law constituted “an impermissible restriction of commercial speech.”
The 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston found in favor of similar state laws in Maine and New Hampshire. An appeal to the Supreme Court may not be the next step, according to Vermont Assistant Attorney General Bridget Asay. “We're still weighing our options,” Asay said. Those include appealing to the same three-judge panel that just heard the case, requesting a rehearing before the entire 10-judge 2nd Circuit panel, or filing a petition for a formal request to the Supreme Court to hear an appeal.
Jody Fisher, vice president of marketing for SDI, parent corporation to Verispan, said the high court already has turned down a company request on an appeal of a 1st Circuit decision in the New Hampshire case, so the company is “very excited” about the New York decision. Verispan's next steps are to be determined, he said. One immediate effect of the appeals court's ruling is that the Vermont law, which went into effect in July 2009, has been enjoined, Fisher said.
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