On April 26, 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court heard the case of Sorrell et al. v. IMS Health Inc. et al. At issue is the constitutionality of a Vermont state statute that prohibits the use of drug prescribing information for the purpose of commercial marketing of drugs to physicians and other prescribers, without the consent of the prescriber. The data at issue is identified by prescriber but is de-identified (per standards under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act or HIPAA) with respect to patients. Both the state of Vermont and a number of amici contend that the statute was enacted in part to protect privacy interests of both patients and prescribers. A number of health data mining companies challenged the law, claiming their use of this information for marketing purposes is protected by the First Amendment.
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