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Supreme Court Grants Vermont Request To Review Data Mining Case

CONTACT: William H. Sorrell, Bridget Asay, Attorney General, Assistant Attorney General, (802) 828-3173, (802) 828-3181

January 7, 2011

The United States Supreme Court has agreed to decide the constitutionality of a Vermont law that requires doctors’ consent before their identifying information in prescription records can be sold or used for marketing prescription drugs. The law was challenged on First Amendment grounds by data mining companies and by PhRMA, a trade organization for the pharmaceutical industry. The federal district court in Vermont upheld the law after trial, but a divided panel of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals reversed that decision in November 2010. The Vermont Attorney General’s Office filed a petition seeking Supreme Court review on December 13, 2010.

Attorney General Sorrell praised the Court’s decision to hear the case. “Vermont doctors pressed for this law because of their concerns about privacy and because they view this data mining practice as an intrusion into the way doctors practice medicine. We look forward to defending this important law in the Supreme Court.”

The case, Sorrell v. IMS Health Inc., No. 10-779, will likely be argued in April of this year and decided before the end of the Court’s term in June.

Related documents:

State of Vermont Second Circuit Brief

State of Vermont Amicus Briefs

  • AARP, et al.
  • New England Journal of Medicine, Vermont Medical Society, et al.
  • EPIC
  •   Website consulting provided by The National Association of Attorneys General.