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US top court to decide state drug data mining law

WASHINGTON, Jan 7 (Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court said on Friday that it would decide whether a state law restricting commercial access to information about prescription drug records violated constitutional free-speech rights.

The justices agreed to review a data mining law adopted in 2007 in Vermont that prevented the sale, transmission or use of prescriber-identifiable information for marketing a prescription drug unless the prescribing doctor consented.

The law was challenged by three companies -- IMS Health, Verispan and Source Healthcare Analytics, a unit of Dutch publisher Wolters Kluwer WLSNc.AS -- that collect and sell such data and by a trade group for pharmaceutical manufacturers. (Reporting by James Vicini, Editing by Steve Orlofsky)