Washington (CNN) -- State laws that would block "data mining" companies from marketing information about doctors' prescriptions were struck down by the Supreme Court Thursday, a potentially far-reaching case testing the conflicting boundaries over commercial speech and consumer protection.
All states allow pharmacies to collect and pass on data about the prescription-writing habits of physicians. But three states -- Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont -- enacted laws in recent years creating a specific exception to that distribution: banning any use or publication of the information for "marketing purposes" of brand-name medicine. Drug companies use these prescription patterns to tailor their sales pitches to doctors.
The high court by a 6-3 vote said those restrictions violated commercial speech protections.