April 26, 2011
The US Supreme Court on Tuesday takes up a case examining whether a Vermont law that blocks access to prescription-drug records violates the free-speech rights of pharmaceutical companies.
At issue is Vermont’s 2007 Prescription Confidentiality Law. The measure bars drug companies from obtaining and using a doctor’s prescription records for marketing purposes unless the doctor grants prior permission for companies to use the data.
The prescription-drug data do not identify patients. But drug stores, which maintain the records, can sell them to data-mining companies, which then sell the information to pharmaceutical companies.