Supreme Court Says Pharma Companies Can Have Access To Drug Prescription Info To Pressure Doctors Into Prescribing More Expensive Drugs
from the feeling-safer? dept
The Supreme Court ruled that such a law violates the First Amendment. The key issue, it appears, is the fact that this law is targeted specifically at pharma firms. Carving out certain groups, companies or individuals is definitely seen as a no-no. Still, recognizing that, I'm somewhat confused by the ruling. The only reason this information exists in the first place is that the government required pharmacies to hand it over (I believe as part of their attempt to find illegal drug users). And we're talking about medical data. Given that, it seems perfectly within the realm of possibilities that the government should be able to regulate who has access to that sensitive data. But the Supreme Court didn't feel that way. I agree with the dissent (Justices Breyer, Kagan and Ginsburg), in suggesting that the Court doesn't seem to fully recognize the situation, and how this is hardly a restriction on free speech.
That said, if there's some silver lining here, it's that the Supreme Court has issued yet another pro-First Amendment ruling. With so many attempts to abuse copyright law to stifle speech lately, including some cases that have half a chance of making it all the way to the Supreme Court, hopefully the court will similarly recognize the role of the First Amendment in not allowing the government to censor forms of speech they don't like.