By Associated Press - Tuesday, April 26, 2011

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court is questioning whether state laws aimed at the marketing of prescription drugs to doctors violate free speech rights.

The court took up a dispute Tuesday between the state of Vermont and companies that sell doctors’ prescribing information to pharmaceutical companies. The drug makers use the data to tailor their pitch to individual doctors.

The Vermont law had prevented the sale of information about individual doctors’ prescribing records without the doctors’ permission.

Chief Justice John Roberts at one point said the Vermont law seemed to be “censoring” what doctors could hear.

A federal appeals struck down the Vermont law, but another court upheld similar laws in Maine and New Hampshire.

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