Sorrell v. IMS Health, Inc.

Justia Summary

Vermont’s Prescription Confidentiality Law, Vt. Stat. Ann., Tit. 18, 4631(d), restricted the sale, disclosure, and use of pharmacy records that revealed the prescribing practices of individual doctors. Respondents, Vermont data miners and an association of brand-name drug manufacturers, sought declaratory and injunctive relief against state officials, contending that section 4631(d) violated their rights under the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment. At issue was whether section 4631(d) must be tested by heightened judicial scrutiny and, if so, whether Vermont could justify the law. The Court held that the Vermont Statute, which imposed content-based and speaker-based burdens on protected expression, was subject to heightened judicial scrutiny. The Court also held that Vermont's justifications for section 4631(d) did not withstand such heightened scrutiny and therefore, affirmed the Second Circuit's judgment that section 4631(d) unconstitutionally burdened the speech of pharmaceutical marketers and data miners without adequate justification.