The State of New Hampshire has gone “all in” and decided to appeal its defeat on health care data. Earlier this year, Judge Paul Barbadoro struck down the law as 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 common sense (Docs can just so no – if a six-year-old child can do it, docs can too).
As I covered back on May 3, 2007 in Health or Hubris? – NH Appeals Judge’s Data Decision, the Attorney General Kelly Ayotte said, “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 and nothing in the law was actually going to reduce drug costs. [I’ve previously discussed data and drug costs in Doctor Data and Pharmaceutical Costs.] During the time the data was blocked in New Hampshire, no effort was made by the state to actually reduce drug costs.
This seems to be about certain physicians in New Hampshire who are concerned that their prescribing behaviors will come out. What prescribing behaviors? Prescription narcotic abuse is a huge problem in New Hampshire – a problem that is enabled by certain doctors in the state (see New Hampshire Prescription Drug Abuse ). Representative Cindy Rosenwald told The New Republic magazine she proposed the legislation on behalf of her husband, New Hampshire Cardiologist Dr. Peter Klementowicz.
The District Judge’s ruling seems solid and the State of New Hampshire has already agreed to all of the statements of fact in the spring. Can the citizen’s of New Hampshire afford another costly legal battle, having just lost one? I guess so…