United States Supreme Court Strikes Down Vermont Pharmaceutical “Data Mining” Law

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On Thursday, June 23, the United States Supreme Court voted 6-3 to strike down a Vermont statute that sought to impose significant restrictions on pharmaceutical detailing and “data mining” activities. Justice Kennedy’s opinion in the closely-watched case of Sorrell v. IMS Health Inc. held that the Vermont statute was an unconstitutional regulation of commercial speech. In so doing, the Court found that the sale, disclosure, and use of redacted pharmacy records containing physician prescribing information constituted “speech in aid of pharmaceutical marketing” and therefore enjoyed First Amendment protection. This case is an important victory for the pharmaceutical, medical device, biotechnology, and related sectors, The following summarizes this ruling and its potential consequences to those involved in these industries.

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