The United States Supreme Court has issued a decision which strikes down a Vermont law banning the practice of data mining information collected by pharmacies including the name of the prescribing physician drug dosage and quantity of the medication and the patients age and gender, which in turn is sold to pharmaceutical companies. Data-mining companies then take the info which is ultimately used by the pharma companies to target sales of drugs to physicians. They also use the information to track disease progression and determine drug effectiveness and possible dangers. Vermont passed the law to protect doctors privacy. Companies seeking to develop new therapeutics to treat chronic diseases are turning more and more to data mining for better leads and to learn what the human body does to fight diseases on its own. Researchers were concerned that a negative opinion by the court might curtail one of the more dynamic advances in a field thought to be arcane, lethargic and not keeping up with the pace and price of medicine. The case is Sorrell v. IMS Health and it was issued today (Thursday June 23, 2011) and the vote was 6-3 with Justice Kennedy writing the opinion, Justices Roberts, Thomas, Sotomayer, Scalia and Alito joining the majority. Dissenting were Breyer, Kagan and Ginsburg. This is one of a series of opinions expected from the court which will examine the interface between the developing and dynamic field of data mining and issues of personal privacy. Today the forces of data mining won the day. The Court said that the data mining is protected by the First Amendment.