NH prescription privacy law upheld

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A federal appeals court has upheld the constitutionality of New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation law that restricts drug company access to some information about doctors’ prescription writing habits.

The ruling by the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston overturns a lower court decision that said the confidentiality law unconstitutionally infringed on free speech.

Among other things, drug company sales representatives use the information to target particular doctors and tailor their sales pitches. Patients’ names are not included in the data.

New Hampshire’s law blocks those pitches by restricting access to data that identifies doctors and other prescribers.

Companies that collect, analyze and sell medical data claimed the law violated their free speech rights.

The data-mining companies said they were disappointed in the decision and were evaluating their potential next steps.

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