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NACDS Supports Overrule of Vermont Law

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The National Association of Chain Drug Stores said it approved of the Supreme Court’s decision Thursday to overturn a Vermont law that curtailed pharmacies from selling prescription information for drug marketing purposes.

NACDS that filed a legal brief in support of pharmacies said Friday the decision should help prevent the enforcement of similar laws enacted in New Hampshire and Maine, as well as proposed legislation in other states.

In a 6-3 vote, the justices said the law violated the First Amendment by targeting certain information and particular speakers, specifically pharmaceutical manufacturers and so-called detailers who visit physicians’ offices and engage in marketing on behalf of drug companies.

The case, Sorrell v. IMS Health Inc., centered on prescription records data collectors buy from pharmacists and then sell to drug manufacturers. The data, collected according to federal rules and regulations, do not include patient names but cover information to allow pharmaceutical companies to track the illnesses physicians treat and their prescribing patterns.

Vermont implemented the law in 2007 to protect the public health of residents, to defend the privacy of doctors and their prescribing practices, and to reduce drug costs through the promotion of less costly drugs, such as generics, that are not marketed the same way as brand-name medications.