Current Weather
The Spy FM

Supreme Court Rules For Drugmakers In Two Cases

Filed by KOSU News in Health.
June 23, 2011

Sorry, docs in Vermont. The U.S. Supreme Court says the prescriptions you write can’t be hidden away from drug companies that use the information to guide their salesmen.

In a 6-3 decision, the court lowered the boom on a Vermont law that requires doctors to agree ahead of time for the info to be sold and used for marketing purposes.

That law pretty much puts the kibbosh on the data mining, which is standard practice throughout the pharmaceutical industry.

But the law would still let others, such as insurers and researchers and even the state, use the data for their own purposes. The majority on the court faulted that logic:

Vermont has given its doctors a contrived choice: Either consent, which will allow your prescriber-identifying information to be disseminated and used without constraint; or, withhold consent, which will allow your information to be used by those speakers whose message the State supports.

And the majority on the court didn’t abide the effective restriction of commercial speech imposed by the Vermont law on detailers, as drug industry salesmen are known:

Vermont may be displeased that detailers who use prescriber-identifying information are effective in promoting brand-name drugs. The State can express that view through its own speech. … But a State’s failure to persuade does not allow it to hamstring the opposition. The State may not burden the speech of others in order to tilt public debate in a preferred direction.

In another pharmaceutical case, the high court ruled in a 5-4 decision that generic drugmakers can’t be sued for failing to warn patients about drug hazards as long as the labels on the generic versions of medicines are the same as those on the same brand-name drug.

Generics make up the vast majority of medicines prescribed in the U.S. these days, and the plaintiffs had sought to put the generics companies on the hook for disclosing new hazards. [Copyright 2011 National Public Radio]

Leave a Reply

5AM to 9AM Morning Edition

Morning Edition

For more than two decades, NPR's Morning Edition has prepared listeners for the day ahead with two hours of up-to-the-minute news, background analysis, commentary, and coverage of arts and sports.

Listen Live Now!

9AM to 10AM The Takeaway

The Takeaway

A fresh alternative in morning news, "The Takeaway" provides a breadth and depth of world, national and regional news coverage that is unprecedented in public media.

View the program guide!

10AM to 11PM On Point

On Point

On Point unites distinct and provocative voices with passionate discussion as it confronts the stories that are at the center of what is important in the world today. Leaving no perspective unchallenged, On Point digs past the surface and into the core of a subject, exposing each of its real world implications.

View the program guide!

Upcoming Events in your area (Submit your event today!)

Streaming audio and podcasts

Stream KOSU on your smartphone

Phone Streaming

SmartPhone listening options on this page are intended for many iPhones, Blackberries, etc. with low-cost software applications available to listen to our full-time web streams, both News on KOSU-1 and Classical on KOSU-2.

Learn more about our complete range of streaming services

We're perfecting the patient experience - Stillwater Medical Center