A federal appeals court in Boston on Tuesday dealt a setback to the pharmaceutical industry and companies that collect prescription data for use in drug marketing.
Ruling in support of a New Hampshire law, the court upheld the right of states to prohibit the sale of doctor-specific prescription drug data that is widely used in pharmaceutical marketing.
The case is a defeat for two large data-mining companies, IMS Health and Verispan. They sued in 2006 to block implementation of the New Hampshire law, which prohibited the sale of computerized data showing which doctors were prescribing what drugs.
The law was intended to cut down on state health care costs by eliminating the tool used by drug sales representatives in promoting brand name drugs. By purchasing the data describing which doctors prescribe what drugs, pharmaceutical sales forces are better able to identify which doctors might use their products and be receptive to their sales pitches. They can also focus on persuading doctors who do not write many prescriptions for their products to change their minds.
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