237596 Pharmaceutical data mining or your privacy: The Supreme Court decides!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011: 4:30 PM

Jennifer L. Pomeranz, JD, MPH , Yale University, Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, New Haven, CT
Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont enacted laws that prohibit data miners from transferring prescriber-identifiable data (the prescribing history of individual physicians) to pharmaceutical companies to protect privacy. The laws vary (e.g., one has an opt-in provision and one has an opt-out provision) but they have the same purpose to protect the information from being used by pharmaceutical companies for targeted marketing of their brand name drugs to the physicians within the state. The First Circuit upheld the Maine and New Hampshire laws; however, the Second Circuit struck down the Vermont law on First Amendment grounds. The United States Supreme Court accepted certiorari to consider the Vermont law and the resolve the conflict between the two circuit courts. The opinion will be issued later this term. In addition to the First Amendment dispute, this case brings up important issues of medical privacy, patient health, and the rising health care costs attributable to brand name drug prescriptions. The presentation will explain these issues, including the necessity for these laws, and the implications of the Supreme Court's opinion.

Learning Areas:
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines

Learning Objectives:
(1) Briefly compare the three statesí laws. (2) Explain the necessity for these laws and the privacy interests implicated by the practice the laws sought to restrict. (3) Analyze and evaluate the Supreme Courtís opinion. (4) Identify First Amendment implications for other public health issues.

Keywords: Privacy, Health Law

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have a JD and an MPH and have worked at the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity since 2007. I have numerous publications and past presentations on public health law.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.