452Virginia+State+Board+of+Pharmacy+v

452Virginia+State+Board+of+Pharmacy+v - Virginia State...

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Virginia State Board of Pharmacy v. Virginia Citizens Consumer Council The Facts: A group of prescription drug consumers challenged a Virginia statute that said a pharmacist licensed in Virginia is guilty of unprofessional conduct if he “publishes, advertises, or promotes, directly or indirectly, in any manner whatsoever, any amount, price, fee, premium, discount, rebate, or credit terms [for] any drugs which may be dispensed only be prescription.” The consumers said this law violated the first and fourteenth amendments. Essentially consumers had no way of knowing the prices of prescription drugs at different pharmacies. A three judge district court held the law invalid. The Issue: On the basis of previous cases (Chrestensen, Breard, and Bigelow) that gave some indication that commercial speech is unprotected, the appellants said that advertising the prices of prescription drugs is not protected under the First Amendment because it is “commercial speech.” The Virginia Legislature claimed that commercial advertising by pharmacists would hurt the professionalism of the pharmacists. The question is whether there are exceptions under the First Amendment where “commercial speech” can be protected. The court questioned whether or not speech that does “no more than propose a commercial transaction” lacks all protection from the First Amendment.
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