Work Session Next Tuesday on Maine Online Marketing Bill

The Committee on Business, Research and Economic Development held a hearing today on legislation in the Maine State Legislature (LD 1677) that would prohibit certain pharmaceutical marketing to minors.    Several hours before the hearing, the bill's sponsor circulated a proposed amendment to her original bill.  A copy of that amendment can be found here.  The committee plans to hold a work session on the bill next Tuesday.

The original version of LD 1677 would prohibit the collection and use of personal information collected online from a minor who is at least 13 and under 17 years old for the purposes of pharmaceutical marketing in violation of rules to be adopted by the Maine Attorney General. 

The bill also repeals the predatory marketing to minors law that was passed last year by the Maine State Legislature.  ANA helped a coalition of companies and trade groups which successfully challenged that law in federal court.  ANA provided a letter to the committee today urging it to simply repeal the law from last year. 

While the original version of LD 1677 also covered over-the-counter products, the proposed amendment would limit the new law to the marketing of prescription drug products.  However, it would expand the coverage to all media, while the original bill covered only the Internet.  Also, the bill would cover minors under age 17 who are residents of Maine.  This is inconsistent with the federal COPPA legislation (Children's Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998), which regulates the collection and use of personal information online from children under age 13.  Finally, the proposed amendment also preserves a private right of action for violations of the new law.

While the proposed amendment addresses many of the concerns raised in the lawsuit, we continue to believe that the best approach is to simply repeal the law passed last year.

If you have any questions about this matter, please contact Dan Jaffe (djaffe@ana.net) or Keith Scarborough (kscarborough@ana.net) in ANA's Washington, DC office at (202) 296-1883.