Yesterday, the Supreme Court announced a decision that Vermont's law requiring physicians to consent to the sale of their prescribing habits to drug companies for marketing purposes is unconstitutional. They said that the Prescription Confidentiality Law infringes on the pharmaceutical industry's First Amendment right to commercial free speech.
This decision ultimately protects “data mining,” the practice of purchasing physician prescribing data to inform more “effective” marketing practices. Drug representatives use this information to tailor their sales pitches to individual doctors and boost drugmakers profits. And the decision has far-reaching implications. It jeopardizes legislation currently in New Hampshire and Maine, that requires providers to consent to the use of prescribing information for marketing purposes.
“The law actually protects the privacy of patients and physicians,” says AMSA National President Danielle Salovich, M.D. “Prescriptions are written for patients and should remain a private matter. They should not become a marketing tool for profit-hungry pharmaceutical companies.”
For more information, read on. Read AMSA's official response.