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Health or Hubris? – NH Appeals Judge’s Data Decision

Posted Oct 28 2008 9:56pm

The State of New Hampshire has thumped its chest and announced it will appeal the Federal Judge’s decision to strike down the Prescription Information Law. Earlier this week, Judge Paul Barbadoro struck down the law for being Unconstitutional.

The state Attorney General Kelly Ayotte has said that the law protects physicians from pharmaceutical marketing and helps contain health care costs. In his 54-page ruling, Judge Barbadoro indicated that there were less invasive ways to manage health care costs, including many options not considered by the state. The Judge also noted that physicians already have the ability to shield themselves from pharmaceutical marketing through an American Medical Association (AMA) program or by not seeing reps.

Attorney General Ayotte said today, “The Prescription Information Law protects the State’s interests and the interests of New Hampshire’s physicians and citizens, which strongly outweigh the pharmaceutical industry’s interest in increased profits.” Evidently Attorney General Ayotte missed the trial because it wasn’t the pharmaceutical companies that the law targeted.

IMS Health issued a statement that reads: “We are confident the opinion will be upheld by the First Circuit. The Judge’s ruling in this matter is comprehensive, well reasoned and based solidly on existing law. Importantly, it upholds the country’s tradition of protecting free speech and the free flow of truthful information. We continue to believe that patients will benefit from a more transparent, safer and more competitive healthcare system as a result of the Judge’s decision. We are committed to evidence-based healthcare and believe that suppression of information will be harmful to our society as both citizens and patients.”

This looks more like posturing than a serious legal appeal. The Judge’s ruling seems solid and the State of New Hampshire has already agreed to all of the statements of fact several weeks ago (as noted by the AP). Can the citizen’s of New Hampshire afford another costly legal battle, having just lost one less than a week ago?

Photo from Pharmalot (again).
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