A win for drug data-min­ing

Ver­mont law re­strict­ing mar­ket­ing over­turned

Modern Healthcare - - The Week In Healthcare - Joseph Conn

Afed­eral ap­peals court in New York has over­turned a Ver­mont law seek­ing to re­strict the use of pre­scrip­tion drug data in the mar­ket­ing of phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals to physi­cians. The rul­ing by a ma­jor­ity of the three­judge panel in the 2nd U.S. Cir­cuit Court of Ap­peals came in fa­vor of the ap­pel­lants— IMS Health; Verispan; Source Health­care An­a­lyt­ics, a sub­sidiary of Wolters Kluwer Health; and the Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal Re­search and Man­u­fac­tur­ers of Amer­ica—and found the 2007 Ver­mont law con­sti­tuted “an im­per­mis­si­ble re­stric­tion of com­mer­cial speech.”

The 1st U.S. Cir­cuit Court of Ap­peals in Bos­ton found in fa­vor of sim­i­lar state laws in Maine and New Hamp­shire. An ap­peal to the Supreme Court may not be the next step, ac­cord­ing to Ver­mont As­sis­tant At­tor­ney Gen­eral Brid­get Asay. “We’re still weigh­ing our op­tions,” Asay said. Those in­clude ap­peal­ing to the same three-judge panel that just heard the case, re­quest­ing a re­hear­ing be­fore the en­tire 10-judge 2nd Cir­cuit panel, or fil­ing a pe­ti­tion for a for­mal request to the Supreme Court to hear an ap­peal.

Jody Fisher, vice pres­i­dent of mar­ket­ing for SDI, par­ent cor­po­ra­tion to Verispan, said the high court al­ready has turned down a com­pany request on an ap­peal of a 1st Cir­cuit de­ci­sion in the New Hamp­shire case, so the com­pany is “very ex­cited” about the New York de­ci­sion. Verispan’s next steps are to be de­ter­mined, he said. One im­me­di­ate ef­fect of the ap­peals court’s rul­ing is that the Ver­mont law, which went into ef­fect in July 2009, has been en­joined, Fisher said.

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