Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Oral argument is today in Sorrell v. IMS Health

The Supreme Court will hear arguments in a case, Sorrell v. IMS Health, that tests whether Vermont’s prescription confidentiality law violates the free speech protections of the First Amendment.

Click here for an earlier post on the case.  Click here for a related post.

I’ll link to the audio recordings of the oral argument as soon as the SCOTUS posts them.

Here is how the New York Times sets up the case:

Before pharmaceutical company marketers call on a doctor, they do their homework. These salespeople typically pore over electronic profiles bought from data brokers, dossiers that detail the brands and amounts of drugs a particular doctor has prescribed. It is a marketing practice that some health care professionals have come to hate.  “It’s very powerful data and it’s easy to understand why drug companies want it,” said Dr. Norman S. Ward, a family physician in Burlington, Vt. “If they know the prescribing patterns of physicians, it could be very powerful information in trying to sway their behavior — like, why are you prescribing a lot of my competitor’s drug and not mine?”

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