Top Court Rules In Favor Of Drug Companies In Two Cases
ROBERT SIEGEL, Host:
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.
MICHELE NORRIS, Host:
NPR legal affairs correspondent Nina Totenberg reports.
NINA TOTENBERG: Dr. Norman Ward, vice president of the Vermont Medical Society, said the court seems oblivious to the realities of practicing medicine in a world where drug salesmen target doctors, and doctors have neither the time nor the quick ability to check their claims.
D: When I write a prescription for a patient based on my best medical judgment, that is a private interaction. For that information to be subsequently sold and repackaged as marketing ammunition to use to influence my prescribing habits is distasteful to me and to many of my colleagues.
TOTENBERG: Dr. Gregory Curfman, executive director of the New England Journal of Medicine.
D: Basically, it's going to allow the drug companies to have more influence on doctors' prescribing practices, to manipulate their prescribing practices and to promote the use of more expensive drugs. Almost certainly, health care costs are going to be driven up.
TOTENBERG: Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy weighed in, too.
SIEGEL: This is just one more example of the Supreme Court using the First Amendment as a tool to bolster the rights of big business at the expense of individual Americans.
TOTENBERG: But many businesses and First Amendment lawyers hailed the decision as furthering the availability of information to the public without the government being able to put its thumb on the scale.
NORRIS: Some business lawyers said they expect challenges to be brought to federal restrictions on the way securities are marketed. And First Amendment lawyer Bob Corn-Revere said he expects the tobacco industry to use today's ruling to challenge the new and grisly labels that the FDA has required the industry to put on cigarette packs.
NORRIS: Again, it is the government both limiting what the manufacturers can do to market their products and then essentially deputizing the producers of cigarettes to convey the government's message.
TOTENBERG: Nina Totenberg, NPR News, Washington.
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