Data-mining is not free speech, says federal court

The lede:

A federal appeals court ruling that upheld New Hampshire’s ban on commercial use of prescribing data could clear the way for other states to pursue legislation restricting drugmakers’ access to information they use to tailor marketing pitches to doctors.

The 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in November found that the 2006 New Hampshire law did not violate the First Amendment, overturning a lower court ruling. The court’s three-judge panel rejected the plaintiffs’ argument that the law prohibited free flow of information.

The judges said the law regulates conduct, not speech, and the state had presented evidence to show that prescribing data was used to fine-tune drug reps’ marketing pitches for higher-cost, brand-name drugs that were not always more efficacious.

“While the plaintiffs lip-synch the mantra of promoting the free flow of information, the lyrics do not fit the tune,” wrote U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Bruce M. Selya in his opinion.

The whole shebang.