Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Court Takes Up Data-Mining Case

Credit: ericsphotography/istockphoto
On Tuesday the U.S. Supreme Court began hearing arguments on a case involving the constitutionality of Vermont’s law banning most forms of data mining, a process in which companies gather physicians’ prescribing information and then sell it to pharmaceutical firms that use it as a marketing tool to try to get physicians to increase the number of prescriptions they write for a firm’s product. The case centers on whether Vermont’s law is a violation of First Amendment free-speech rights or is a legitimate regulation of commerce in the state. The Washington Post reported on Wednesday that in their questioning, several justices seemed to be concerned that the law did indeed trespass on data-mining companies’ free speech. A federal appeals court had ruled against the law, but another appeals court upheld similar laws in two other states. For background information on the case, go to


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